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Do You Ever Get Your Taste Buds Back - How Long Does It Take?

Posts: 12
Joined: Jul 2011

My 77-year-old Dad was diagnosed with stage 2 squamous base of tongue cancer last summer and had 7 weeks of daily radiation which ending the second week of October 2011. He was in oustanding shape before the radiation. He tolerated the radiation well and did not need a feeding tube. He lost some weight but still kept eating soft food.

It has been seven full months and he still cannot taste alot of things.

I am curious about the experience of others.

Does the sense and taste of food ever come back and, if so, how long did it take?

Many thanks for all of the support!

osmotar's picture
Posts: 1005
Joined: Jul 2011

I'm 5 months out from the end of all treatment, taste buds are coming back slowly, things that I couldn't taste or were just plain nasty tasting during are coming back, I try something new all the time. somethings like red meats still have a wonky taste to me. I think as they say we are all different.


Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8286
Joined: Sep 2009

I was STGIII SCC Tonsils, also had chemo and the 35 days of radiation.

I lost all taste and saliva by the end of treatment. It started coming back slowly within a few months, and changes seemed to be in months, not days or weeks.

Water tasted like sweat, and everything else just tasted bad. I carried a water bottle pretty much 24/7.

Once things did start coming back, it was a few at a time. If something didn't taste right or just bad, I would set that aside and try again in a few months.

Sweet took the longest it seems, I'd take a bite of ice cream and the first bite was good. After that first bite, I'd lose the taste and flavor.

That seemed to happen with a lot of sauces and soups as well.

At six months or so, I was pretty good and could definitely survive with just what I had. But like Linda mentioned, most meats were pretty dry.

I remember the first meat that tasted good was Burger King Double Cheeseburgers... and I still love those things.

Around 2 - 2 1/2 years out, I had regained 100% on the taste and around 95% on the saliva... Just drying out a little at night when sleeping.

Everyone is different of course, but seems like a few have followed my progression or even quicker on recovery.

So, on your time line, I guess you can figure out where he is compared to where I was.

Hopefully he will continue to make progress, it just can take a pretty long time in some of us.


Hondo's picture
Posts: 6643
Joined: Apr 2009

It is hard to tell because everyone is so different, for me on my first treatment it was about 3 months; I was able to have a little sensation of taste and every week it just got better and better. The second time was a lot worse; taste came back but took a very long time.

Wishing your Dad a fast recovery on taste.

Posts: 307
Joined: Mar 2012

Does the salt comes back fast? If salt comes back a lot of things will taste a bit better.

This no taste buds is soooo hard to deal with.


Posts: 12
Joined: Jul 2011

Many thanks for all of the feedback.

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