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loss of appetite

Posts: 12
Joined: May 2010

What can be done for loss of appetite?

Posts: 12
Joined: May 2010

Hello, all! DByrd is 10 weeks out from radiation and chemo treatments. he is suffering from loss of appetite and I wondered if that is the same experience you all have had and is there a remedy? He can swallow but the taste is not there, if he tries to force solid food it is so repulsive to him that he feels that he will throw up.

sweetblood22's picture
Posts: 3228
Joined: Jan 2010

My mouth was so destroyed I couldn't take anything by mouth tho and was using peg tho. I had no appetite and severe nausea after I was done with rads. I held my weight all thru, but then lost 40 lbs after rads were done so definitely work with drs to get a handle on it so weight is maintained.

Is there a Peg in place? Maybe the drs can scribe an anti nausea and something to stimulate appetite? I know too that when I am under extreme stress and my depression and axiety is high, I cannot eat and lose weight. Don't overlook possible depression at this point. It's all too common.

For a couple times putting something that I loved the smell of, under my nose helped me. For me it was almond extract. Sounds stupid, but I love the smell, and I tried to pretend I was eating pignoli nut cookies. It sucks when you can't taste and everything tastes like sawdust and hurts.

Ed_PortOrange's picture
Posts: 110
Joined: Jun 2010

I've been lucky that my taste is pretty close to the old normal. However at 7 months post I still have no natural desire to eat. I don't like medicines because of the many side effects so I haven't pursued a prescribed remedy. My diet is basically liquid with some oatmeal, bananas and other mushed concoctions. I trust that all we need is time for continued healing.

Best Wishes for a healthy recovery.


Pumakitty's picture
Posts: 652
Joined: Mar 2010

For the first couple of weeks after treatment my dad did not want to eat. He ate all through treatment, but starting the week after it was a different story. He said nothing tasted good, that was the problem more then the pain. He lost weight quickly then, but the all of a sudden it got better. Now he can not get enough to eat. He does not eat as much at one time as he did, but he eats more often and more healthy. I would talk to the doctors some more. You do not want to have an issue with weight loss, while he is healing up from everything.


Army_Guy's picture
Posts: 53
Joined: Oct 2010

Hi Chantil,

My appetite went south about two weeks into treatment when everything started tasting like dirt. By the time treatment was completed and I was home recovering I had lost an incredible amount of weight (61 lbs from the time I was diagnosed until present). Luckily, the PEG saved me from loss of nutrition, but I hated that tube so much I began trying solid food as soon as my mouth healed. My desire to get rid of the tube overrode my lack of appetite. I tried something "new" every day and once some of my taste buds began coming alive, my desire to eat grew. My appetite is not what it used to be, but it's back after a fashion. But you've got to encourage him to keep trying different things (stay away from spicy or acidic foods until mouth and throat are healed). I started with very mild things: scrambelled eggs, cream of wheat, oatmeal, mashed potatoes (need lots of gravy or it "leeches" the moisture out of my mouth), and similar foods. I washed them down with a trusty Ensure. I have since "graduated" to meat, chicken, a variety of vegetables and this past week salad with dressing...and I can "taste" it!

I am sure that doing this helped my appetite come back. But I'm fairly certain that lack of appetite is linked to the lack of taste for the most part. I still can't taste "sweet" which may be a good thing. Just remember these two important points: 1.) Gotta have patience and 2.) Everyone's body is different. Stay strong, stay determined and it will come back!


Hondo's picture
Posts: 6643
Joined: Apr 2009

Are you taking any kind of medicine as it sometimes suppresses your appetite, if not check with your ENT or Oncal doc, they may want you to see someone about it. The other problem is the C treatment does have a lot to do appetite suppression, I am 5 years passed my last treatment and still don’t have much of an appetite

pascotty's picture
Posts: 171
Joined: Aug 2010

Hey chantil. I had no appetite from week two of rads and chemo. It took another three months after completion of treatment for my appetite to return. The texture and taste didn't feel very good as I remember. It was a combo of these things and my mouth just not feeling the same. I started out with soup then wet foods like yoghurt porridge and then a bit chunkier soups and spag bog casserole cut up fine. It was slow and only small amounts. Now I am back to three to four meals a day and gaining weight by the minute. Everything will be okay. It's time and patience. Best of luck xxxx

miccmill's picture
Posts: 248
Joined: May 2010

Glenn says he has no appetite.

It is slowly, very slowly starting to return. It stared with, I think, with just associating favorite foods with appetite. He's 10 weeks out on Tuesday.

Taste is still off but returning some every week.

A friend of mine who had a bone marrow transplant for Leukemia said she also ended up with no appetite and they prescribed Marinol for her. Then she found herself munching on a lot of stuff.

No one on his team is surprised by this in the least and has told him it will just take time.

He did however, get up in the middle of the night to eat a piece of Pumpkin bread I made during the evening. He just kept smelling it and had to have one.

Greend's picture
Posts: 678
Joined: Feb 2010

I used to live to eat...now I eat to live.

Posts: 177
Joined: Dec 2009

They gave me the marinol pills, or other wise known as the marijuana pills. They did help with my appitite and attitude also.

hawk711's picture
Posts: 566
Joined: Jan 2010

I could go without eating for days, that's why I am not pulling the PEG out quickly. I eat liquids easily and yogurt, but having to munch on food is a chore and besides I can't eat very much at one sitting.
Is the Marinol that good??? I'll ask my Dr for a prescription. A friend said I should try some weed to help, but after H&N cancer, smoking is the last thing I want to do....
Let me know if the Marinol helped you please...any of you others out there..

Posts: 665
Joined: Apr 2010

I am over eight month's post treatment & I am finally gettin my appetite back. I have a feeding tube & have not lost any weight because of it. I started making nutritious shakes & eating soft food's at about three month's. It was frustrating but I was determined not to give up. If something did not taste right then I would leave it for a few
week's then try again. At around five month's my eating & taste had improved immensly. I stopped using my tube & am happy to say I now get the odd hunger pain & growl that I was so missing. Time & patience are key as your body set's it's own pace. At first I was very concerned with my lack of appetite & asked my nutritionist to prescribe something to stimulate it. Then she told me most of the appetite stimulant's have steroid's in them so I quickly forgot about that idea. Now all is well. It just took a bit longer. My hubby bought me a juicer with a good motor & that helped me quite a bit also.

scottied's picture
Posts: 34
Joined: Nov 2010

I finished my treatment x-mas eve last year, followed by a modified neck dissection in April. I had gotten where i could eat but just had no appetite. My oncologist prescribed megace as an appetite stimulant. It worked wonders. I gained all my weight back (30 lbs) and recently within the last month stopped taking the megace and my appetite is pretty much back to normal again.

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Posts: 132
Joined: Oct 2009

I am not a Cancer Patient...but I was rx'ed Marinol because I lost 70lbs for no apparent reason except Chronic Pain. My Husband Bob finished treament last January...he was doing well trying to eat, but seems he has just given up on eating most of the time..I try and try to get him to eat and he say's later..maybe I shoulkd give him one of my pills and see if it stimulates his appitite. Bob had Surgery last Friday they went into his Chest he has 2 Lymph Nodes that lit up on his last PET Scan and they had gotten bigger...he did not tell me this. I found out when he said he was having Surgery. They took 10 Biopsies and the Dr said they looked good, but we have not heard the official result YET. Bob was so positive thruout treatment, but seems as time goes by he has gotten so lax about nutrition. He had his Peg Tube taken out WAY too early and it was his choice..I look at pictures of him at Easter last year and he looked so much better then he looks now...he has been loosing 5lbs a month. I do not understand why the Dr's are allowing him to get so so very thin. He has always been thin, at most he ever weighed he was 145/150..he now is less then 120 and he is 6 ft tall. He was not rx'ed and pain meds after hos Surgery which I could not believe...I said nothing for pain? He has been coughing alot since the Surgery and sleeping all day today. He was put on an Antidressant but told to stop taking it after the Surgery. Bob has been very secrective thruout all of this and I jsut can't understand why he does not tell me what I need to know..both of our grown children see he is not the same..it is almost like his Brain has become mush...he looks very thin and gaunt. I will be talking to someone on Friday as I will not tolerate my Husband deteriorating anymore than he has. What I cannot understand is if someone is litterally starving why are the Dr's not doing something about it? I keep trying to get him to eat and he always say's later..he has eaten nothing today at all..I made homemade chicken noodle soup and he had a bowl yesterday, but today nothing..lhe has been sleeping all day...I am thinking it may be Depression...may be stress...but I need answers. He will go in spurts and one day he drank 3 cartons of Egg Nog...well then he ended up in the bathroom all day and night..he goes from starving himself to going overboard and getting sick. I will find out Friday what is happening and why he cannot have something for his throat..they put a Tube down there with pinchers that took the Biopsies and we were told he would cough up blood for up to 4 day's...Thankfully that has not happened he has been coughing alot, but no blood. I got out the Vaporizor and that has helped him a bit in the bedroom. Hoping tomorrow he will eat lot;s of Mashed Potaoes, which I bough Half and Half to add to them and gravy and cranberries....and Turkey...had to vent as I am very worried and he does NOT like me talking to the Dr's...He said he didn't want me to go with him a long time ago when I told them he was not being truthful about his pain..and side effect's. He was acting like the Perfect Patient and he was miserable. I am Thankful for you Wonderful folks here and wish all of you a Great Holiday and hope everyone is able to eat lot's of Turkey and potaotes and all the goodies tomorrow. Thank you for letting me vent. God Bless Everyone. I will let you know when we get the Biopsie result's...just a note the Surgeon and ENT Dr's both asked if Bob was around the Mississppi River as there is a Fungus near and around the River whoch could be the cause of his enlarged Lymph Nodes in his Chest...we have a Cabin on the Missippissi we are hoping that is the cause of this issue. Maybe someone else who may be having the same problem could speak to thier Dr. about this Fungus.

Hal61's picture
Posts: 655
Joined: Dec 2009

I'm about nine months post rads and chemo and my appetite is still mainly missing in action. I get taste "fatigue" after a few bites of most things, that is, I can taste the first few bites of about anything now, but the taste won't last much into my mini meal. I'm drinking my stash of peg tube food now, as a suppliment--I got ISOCAL--and it tastes about as good as anything else. I get hungry about 1 in the morning. I'm usually not up then, but if I am, I get a bit of an appetite then. "There's no accounting for taste," they say. I think I get that now.


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