Almost everyone knows someone who has or has had cancer, or knows someone who knows who’s been affected by cancer. What many people do not know is that on average 55-75% of all people treated for cancer, suffer from temporary or permanent smell and / or taste changes as a side effect from chemotherapy or cancer itself. The changes is smell and taste takes away the pleasure of eating and the daily meals can become unpleasant.
Patients tend not to talk about these changes in smell and taste, for fear of this having a negative effect on how others react to food. Some patients mention feeling guilty, and don’t want to come across as “ungrateful” when they are not able to enjoy a prepared meal. Meals prepared with more love and care, end up still tasting ‘nasty’. For most caregiverrs, it becomes a huge challenge when searching for ways to prepare a meal which is tasty. HungerNdThirst Foundation is committed to finding ways for patients to enjoy a tasty and nutritional meal. In collaboration with Wageningen University & Research we have conducted research and hope to find practical solutions for smell and taste changes in cancer patients. The social aspect of eating together and recovery can be stimulated, and the quality of life is also positively influenced.
Taste disorders which may occur due to cancer and/or cancer treatment:
Ageusia: the loss of taste functions of the tongue, particularly the inability to detect sweetness, sourness, bitterness, saltiness, and umami.
Hypogeusia: a reduced ability to taste.
Dysgeusia: a distortion of the sense of taste.