Taste changes and cancer treatment

Cancer and its treatment can change the way your salivary glands work and affect your sense of taste, texture and smell.

Some foods may have less taste than before and others may have a salty, bitter or metallic taste. Your mouth may be more sensitive to food and drinks that are cold, hot, spicy, or fizzy.

These changes can affect your enjoyment of food. 10 Improving tastes These ideas may help to improve the taste of your food.

• If you find food tastes bland, experiment with different foods and flavours such as fresh herbs, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, gravies, spices, and relishes.

• If you have lost your taste for meat, try marinating it in soy sauce, honey, ginger, or fruit juice before cooking.

• Try alternatives to meat such as lentils, legumes, nuts, eggs, and cheese.

• If food is too salty, avoid adding salt when cooking.

• If food tastes too sweet, try foods with less sugar such as porridge, and Weetbix.

• Try refreshing, moist foods such as melons and berries.

• If you experience a metallic taste try using plastic or non-metal utensils. Reducing smells Here are some ways to help reduce off-putting food smells.

• Choose plain foods with low smell levels.

• Ask for help with meal preparation, or try pre-prepared or easy meal options.

• Use an extractor fan, cover pots when cooking, open doors and windows, or cook outdoors such as on a BBQ.

• Serve food at room temperature rather than when the food is hot or very cold.

For cancer information and support phone 0800 CANCER (226 237).