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Everything taste BLAH...or like a rusty tin can.....

Posts: 3
Joined: Jun 2010

My dad has stage IV Lung Cancer, has had several radiation treatments, they have stopped and he will be starting chemo in 1 1/2 weeks. But, since this all started...about 4 weeks ago, everything he tries to eat has either no flavor, taste bitter, "like a rusty can" etc... so he has pretty much given up on eating "real" food. Not for lack of want tho....
He is on tube feeding, so he is getting the basics he needs but....its definatly not going to be enough especially when he starts chemo. He started at 140 lbs, dropped down to 110lbs and is at 117lbs right now. My question is, does anybody know or have suggestions on what food or what to do for the tast of "real" food for him?? He really does want to eat it...but...after one bite.....any help, suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you all....

hope0310's picture
Posts: 324
Joined: May 2010

Same thing happened to my mom. If it did not taste good, she wasn't eating it....period! Said she was not hungry. We had the docs give her a prescription for megace, it is an appetite stimulator....that got her eating better.

Plus, it seemed like we tried every food in the world to find something that would taste good!! Spicy, hot food was best, guess more flavor!!

Hang in there! As long as he is getting Boost/Ensure through his feeding tube, he should be fine, but more is better!

Posts: 4
Joined: Jul 2010

yes i have run into that with my dad as well. he was an avid coffee drinker and does not like the taste of it anymore and everything just tastes different to him now. He went thru 8wks of chemo and radiation at the same time.

Posts: 1048
Joined: Aug 2006

There really are lots of cookbooks out there for folks doing chemo and cancer treatment. Many mention the value of mashed potatoes (white or sweet), custards (sweet or vegetable), and egg dishes. Meat is often metallic tasting, so it may not set right. Little frequent amounts are better than large amounts three times a day. Cold things like popsicles or milk shakes may taste better than "regular" dinners. Weird things like a veggie souffle might taste better than something that you are used to but doesn't taste "right" now. Ensure with ice cream may taste better than a hamburger and may give you the calories you need. Cream of wheat with brown sugar might work better than beef stew. French toast with maple syrup may taste better than pork chops. Look in your public library, on the internet, or order a book from the bookstore for lots more ideas. A specialist in the area of nutrition could give you more ideas too. I found food tasted funny for a few days after my last surgery. It smelled wrong too. As much as I usually love my mom's home cooking, the smell of meat cooking that week was enough to make me gag. She had agreed to watch me for a few days so my husband could work. She had lots of nutritious home-cooked meals planned for those days. Fortunately I told her about the taste/smell problem before I got to her house and she was okay with NOT cooking! She ended up getting a pre-cooked chicken from the grocery store, microwaving some green beans, and stirring up some instant potatoes so I wouldn't have to smell anything cooking for long. I managed to eat a little. Sometimes she let me just eat a little cereal instead of lunch and eat at a different time so I wouldn't have to look at food. I knew how much of a sacrifice it was for her NOT to cook. Fortunately she's a nurse and understood that it was the meds and not something personal or anything permanent. Sometimes life at our house kind of revolves around food because we all like to eat (most of the time) and many of us are great cooks. But with cancer meds and surgery, sometimes meal time is not so pleasant. So understand it isn't any problem with your cooking that he can't enjoy eating right now.

kelli1843's picture
Posts: 72
Joined: Jan 2010

That's a familiar story for sure. I had to use plastic utensils as I couldn't take the metallic taste from silverware. I had trouble eating food from cans such as sliced peaches, fruit cocktail, etc. for the same reason.
Any meat tasted "dead" to me, except for chicken breasts. Milk tasted funny, I was constantly telling boyfriend the milk was sour when it wasn't.
And, I quit drinking coffee (decaf) because I no longer liked the taste of it.
Your taste buds whole interpretation of food tastes change. Good luck.

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