Why does food taste differently now that I’m getting treated for cancer?

Changes in the way food tastes is a common side effect of many cancer treatments, including chemotherapy and radiation.

There are several things that might help with this. You can rinse your mouth with baking soda and water, or lemon juice and water if you do not have mouth sores, especially just before a meal.

If food tastes metallic, you should avoid drinking directly from metal containers and use plastic utensils and glass cooking containers. You can enhance taste by adding tart flavors like pickles, lemons and vinegar or sweet dressings and marinades. This is a good time to experiment with new spices, foods and flavors, even those that you have previously disliked, as you might find that you could enjoy them now.

It’s also important to keep your mouth as clean and healthy as possible with frequent brushing and flossing. Make sure your health care team knows about this side effect as they might have additional suggestions for you.

For more information contact Courtney Britton, librarian at Cancer Services of Greater Baton Rouge at (225) 927-2273, cbritton@cancerservices.org, or visit the Education Center at 550 Lobdell Ave., Baton Rouge.


ASCO – Taste Changes — cancer.net

Oconolink - Taste Changes During Cancer Therapy — oconolink.org

This column is presented as a service by Cancer Services of Greater Baton Rouge, a United Way affiliate.