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Loss of taste/appetite


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In the past several months, my DH has lost his sense of taste to a great degree... things that he used to love don't taste good, or don't taste the same, and the textures of many foods are not good to him. This did not happen when he was on taxol/carboplatin, but he had 8 cycles of Alimta (didn't work) and then 6 cycles of Taxotere. Have others experienced this? He has lost 80+ lbs. in the past year (he had a lot of fluid retention and was over 320 lbs. last December so he could afford to lose at least 60 but they are beginning to get concerned). He just isn't interested in most foods. Does this eventually dissipate and the sense of taste return? My son is suggesting the supplement "shakes" which will give him nutrients and if need be I will get them but I'd love to find something that seems appetizing! Sandy

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I lost my taste several times but never for an extended period of time. I kept eating and finding foods that had a hint of taste, such as Wendy's Chili with their hot sauce, vanilla shakes, chicken fingers with hot honey mustard. All I can suggest is to try different foods and textures, don't just stay with the old home cooked meals, which don't appear to be working...Make a game out of it, go out and try different snacks/entres...he must eat.


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It is normal for chemo to mess up the tastebuds of the patient. It can also make the lining of the mouth degrade and cause discomfort.

I think the emphasis needs to be on getting enough nutrition and liquids down on a regular basis, rather than what it is. We found that things like shakes, ice cream, Ensure, Boost, yogurt, Smoothies, Frosties, etc. worked for Lucie. Also, if you have small snacks every two to three hours, it seems to work better than the normal 3 squares a day. Good luck. Don

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My mom lost her sense of taste during chemo. Along with that, many foods tasted AWFUL or turned her stomach. Smells of some things bothered her, textures of some foods werent appealing etc etc. I hear it is common

This was depressing for her and she would often get annoyed when we tried to help. After all, she knew she should eat and try different things but she couldnt make herself do it at times. We would often make her ill just by suggesting foods!

I did a bunch of reading on what to do to keep weight on during this period. The calories matter more than how enjoyable it is.....at least in the long run. The suggestions I read were to "add" calories to any and all food. Use heavy cream in milkshakes, on cereal, in coffee, in mashed potatos etc etc. Use and add sour cream to foods. Add cheese to food. It doesnt sound great for the heart, but that concern isnt as pressing as the immediate concern of keeping weight on

My mom got thru by drinking milkshakes made with instant breakfast powder. We'd add extra stuff in there to increase the calories. We'd make lots of jello to keep her liquids up as well

One part to the whole food factor is dehydration! Chemo really dehydrates you and the dehydration can effect you in many different ways including decreasing your appetite(SP?) My mom started to get more hungry after she would have something to drink

Best of luck

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I had things taste wierd for over a year -- slightly metallic (I had cisplatin). I lost my taste for chocolate completely, and pretty much sweets. Went for meats and green vegetables, baked potatoes, rice, lots of milk....

I talked to several nutrtionists since my weight had pretty much bottomed out. They told me to make every mouthful count -- to add olive oil or butter, things with a high calorie count.

I ate despite the wierd taste because I knew I had to. Fortunately I didn't have to cook for myself much of the time, so it was easy to appreciate and eat what someone else (often my mother) cooked for me. Also, I ate with the family.

I took Scandia shakes with extra ice cream. If your grocery doesn't have it on the shelves, I know the pharmacy can special order it.

All in all, keep persevering. That's what it takes.

Don's advice about little meals and hi calorie snacks is good too...



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I also kept losing weight thru and after chemo and got greatly concerned cause I was down to 113 lbs. (I'm a 5ft female so its within my weight range but I've always been 120 to 140). I asked my doc about something to stimulate my appetite and he gave me megace (not sure on the spelling) but it definitely worked for me. I haven't gained any weight in two months but I haven't lost any more either and that's a great relief.

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