Taste Changes

Symptom and Description

Change in taste can be a change in the sensation of sweet, salty, sour, or bitter. A change in the way foods taste may cause a dislike for foods, which may lead to lack of appetite or weight loss. The taste buds are affected by the cancer or its treatment.

Learning Needs

You will need to learn the possible changes in taste sensation and inform your doctor if a lack of appetite occurs. The following are possible changes in taste you could experience.

  • Foods are not sweet enough.

  • Foods taste too sweet.

  • Foods taste too salty.

  • Foods are not salty enough.

  • Foods taste spoiled or very bitter.

  • Foods taste metallic.


  • Avoid food found to be unpleasant.

  • Brush teeth before and after meals to keep mouth clean.

  • Use gravies or sauces on foods.

  • Avoid unpleasant odors.

  • Avoid cigarette smoke or smoking, which can affect your sense of smell, thus changing sense of taste.


Notify your nurse or doctor if taste changes affect your appetite.

  • Ask to talk with a dietician if you experience weight loss or loss of appetite.


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