Radiation Treatment Caused Loss of Taste?

Due to radiation treatment I have had a change of taste. Things do not taste the same and so it is difficult to eat. The flavor has changed to a point where the food almost has a spoiled taste.


I have lost a few pounds, but still am able to maintain a healthy weight. I eat fruit blends and drink liquids, drink fruit juices and eat ice cream, but even these are difficult to stomach, so I have a high calorie intake. I want to eat more salads, soups, and sandwhiches and that is difficult right now. Please send any suggestions you might have from past experience.

By Rubber Arm from Miwaukee, WI

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March 13, 20120 found this helpful

My husband has been treated twice for testicular cancer and went through the same thing. He says it took about a year the first time, and about two years the second time for his taste buds to come back so that food didn't taste 'wrong'. The chemo also played havoc with his sense of smell, and thinks you may be going through the same thing-which makes it doubly hard to eat properly.


He says he forced food he knew was healthy down most of the time because it didn't taste good but he knew he needed to eat properly if he wanted to be strong for the fight.

He also said to let you know that you have to be very careful about spoiled food-because your taste buds are so burned by the chemo your mouth can't tell you the food is off. If you are having trouble with your sense of smell you are at even more risk of accidentally eating something that has gone off enough to disturb your already disturbed system-the last thing you need now is a serious case of stomach upset due to spoiled food.

So he made sure that he handled food carefully in the home kitchen, he also avoided restaurants, especially take-away. He dated everything and was scrupulous about throwing out anything at or past 'consume by' dates, and he had the most sanitary kitchen on the planet according to his friends. I didn't meet him until 2008, so I have to rely on his friends to tell me what he was like then, lol!


One thing he didn't do and now regrets is joining a support group. He thinks he would have had a much better time getting through it all if he'd been able to ask group members about things like eating. He says he frequently felt as though he was the only person in the world going through this, which he knew wasn't true, and he kicks himself for not taking advantage of the support a group provides.

He's been in remission since 2004. We were married in Jan 2011. Hang in there, it's very difficult to go through but it is worth the fight!

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March 15, 20120 found this helpful

When chemo really messed up my taste buds, I found it sometimes helped to swish some water with baking soda mixed in it around in my mouth several times before eating, spitting it out and swishing more. Seemed like it kind of neutralized some of the bad tastes for a few bites.


When nothing else would help and things just tasted awful, I'd numb my tongue with a small amount of Orajel a minute before eating a little. Found some in the medicine cabinet from when I had sore gums. It helped enough to be able to eat at least something. Probably not a good idea to do it often.

I seem to remember reading somewhere that a little apple cider vinegar in water swished in the mouth before eating had helped someone eat veggies and such, can't remember where I read that now, and I've not tried it, only the baking soda and water swish.

Catsup tasted horrible, and I'd always loved catsup before, but it was like eating something metallic. Others told me later that eating with a metal fork gave them the same metallic bad taste from most foods, so they'd switched to plastic forks and it helped.


Hang in there, this probably won't last much longer with it this bad. I love to eat now and things taste good again, though I don't think my sense of smell is what it once was and flavors are a little less intense but hey, chocolate is still good, so there's that. :^)

During the time it takes for the bad tastes to go away, it's probably alright to eat whatever you can get down that tastes good to you, and the cold items are a good idea, frozen things will help to numb the taste buds so you might could eat healthier things in between.

Hopefully this will go away eventually. Mine always did, though I only had chemo treatments, not radiation.

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March 31, 20120 found this helpful

One site that helped me tremendously when my husband was diagnosed with cancer and undergoing treatment was It is a wonderfully informative website for those going through this difficult disease and also for the caregivers. Hope this helps.

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