Alleviating Loss of Taste During Chemo

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Why should patients on chemo with side effects of loss of taste seek alternative methods? Dr. Paul K. Paik explains that chemo patients experience a decreased sense of taste, resulting in loss of appetite. Dr. Paik stresses the urgency in seeking alternative methods to prevent malnourishment. Tune in to find out about the alternative methods.

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Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Jamie:

Hello. So this is a question from our online audience, “My husband has lost his sense of taste.  He is currently on bevacizumab (Avastin) and pemetrexed (Alimta) maintenance protocol after initial treatment.  Any advice you can offer?” 

Susan Leclair:     

The visiting team goes first.

Dr. Paik:                

Yes, right. So loss in taste, complete loss, or near complete loss in taste from chemo I think is one of the most difficult things to deal with, because the only way that this is going to get better is if you stop the treatment that you’re on, which is not a right, way to end up going about doing this.

And at the same time, complete loss generally means that the appetite goes out the window. And so eating becomes a chore. And as everyone had talked about, when that becomes an issue, it’s a big issue. I mean, so much of how we take pleasure in life both in terms of taking care of people and then, you know, taking care of ourselves is food.  And the best thing that I can suggest, I think, is to—if there’s not complete loss, then to try to find things that may end up helping.

I think, in this case, seeking out, uh, consultations with alternative medicine doctors as another avenue of approach I think is—is a good thing to do. Because if we, in terms of the normal sphere of oncology care, don’t have the answer for you, then I think looking for other sources of answers is another approach.  And at the end of the day then, if these things aren’t working, if there’s complete loss of appetite, then it does become something like a job.

And I think the approach, as unpleasant as it is, means meeting with a nutritionist and coming up with a plan of, okay, this is what I need to eat in terms of caloric intake, in terms of things. And this is just what I need to do. And then, you know, hopefully, maybe it begins to remit.  It’s sort of the best that I can offer for what ends up being a very difficult side effect to have. 

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

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Page last updated on October 20, 2015