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Metallic Taste In The Mouth After Radiation Treatments For Base of Tongue Cancer

Posts: 12
Joined: Jul 2011

My Dad finished 35 radiation treatments in October for squamous base of tongue cancer, stage 2. My Dad is 77 and in excellent health and tolerated the treatments well, but, of course, with mucous, loss of taste, etc.

My Dad is slowly getting his taste back (sweet taste coming slowly) but claims that he has a metallic taste in his mouth that does not go away.

My question is: has anyone else experienced this? Also, how long did it take others to start tasting their food again? It seems to vary alot by person.

Many thanks to everyone who posts on here as this has helped me to help my Dad.

Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8286
Joined: Sep 2009

It's different for everyone...for me sweet was one of the very last to fully return. I've been fisnished with treatment since Jun2009.

I just started having the ability to eat ice cream and not lose the taste/flavor after a few bites.

The rest came back over the first year or so, but if something tasted bad, I'd just shelf it for a few months and try again.

The mettallic taste is associated a lot during chemo. One thing they always suggested was to eat from plastic utensils, not sure if that might help him at the moment.

I did rinse and spit a lot with a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda/water mix.


MarineE5's picture
Posts: 907
Joined: Dec 2005


You mentioned that your Dad finished his 35 radiation treatments in October. We all go through a period that is known as "Cooking" where as the treatments are accumulative after each treatment. So, even though he completed his radiation, the worst part of the treatment still followed. The radiation works on each of us for a certain period of time, I was told to me that it could vary from 4-8 weeks.

With that said, your Dad can still be "Cooking" for a little time, slowly, his taste buds will wake up. Like John mentioned, it may take a year, hopefully not. The first thing that I could taste was milk and that was around the 5 week mark from treatment. Also as John mentioned. If something doesn't taste right now, re-try it in a few months. It worked like that for me also.

Yes, my food tasted like cardboard, and fluids tasted like an aluminum can. I am glad to hear that he is doing well at 77 years of age.

My Best to Both of You and Everyone Here

osmotar's picture
Posts: 1005
Joined: Jul 2011

I also get a tinny/metallic taste in my mouth , mostly if I eat red meats, and then at times when not eating/drinking anything I will get it, but I don't have that taste all the time. I don't think there is anything we can do about it but hope it goes away soon. I still have some of my taste even after 29 of 39 rad treatments are complete. When I was going thru my chemo, 1 infusion every 21 days for a total of 3 I maintained all of my taste . It wasn't until radiation and 1 weekly carboplatin started around the 3rd week or so of treatment the taste began to fade. I asked the rad doc the other day about the return of taste and as we have all heard everyone is different, he said it may come back gradually over the next 3 months or it could take longer.

Sweets of any kind taste sour in my mouth and certain bottled waters are salty. The only bottled water I can drink is Dasani.

Best wishes to your Dad.

Posts: 12
Joined: Jul 2011

Many thanks to everyone for their replies. I will pass the info on!

Hondo's picture
Posts: 6643
Joined: Apr 2009

The tin man taste, it is normal with radiation treatment to the head. Foe me it took a few weeks before it was gone and food took about 2 or 3 months before I could taste anything really good. Sweet taste never did comeback good.

Take care

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