How long do changes last?
Taste and smell changes are rarely permanent, so most will resolve with time.
Chemotherapy – You might notice that symptoms change during the course of a single chemotherapy cycle. For example, flavour problems are usually worse in the first week after chemotherapy and then gradually improve until the next chemotherapy cycle.
Studies have shown that when people receive chemotherapy as the only type of cancer treatment, taste and food enjoyment usually returns to normal two months after treatment has finished.
Radiation therapy – People who receive radiation therapy to the head or neck area can experience longer lasting problems, particularly if it causes ongoing problems with saliva flow.
|Keep a diary noting the symptoms you are experiencing and when they occur, particularly the time of day, the stage of treatment cycle, and with what food and drink. This will assist your treatment team to identify the causes and to find ways for you to manage the changes.|
This information is based on the expertise of clinicians who work in the area and consumer experience. It was reviewed by Dr Anna Boltong, Head of Cancer Information and Support Services, Cancer Council Victoria, VIC; Rosemarie Bartholomeusz, Registered Nurse, Chemotherapy Day Unit, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Katherine Lane, Nurse Manager, Cancer Council Victoria, VIC; Wolfgang Marx, Dietitian and Nutritionist, and Senior Research Officer, University of Queensland, QLD; Chris Pidd, Consumer, NSW: Steve Pratt, Nutrition and Physical Activity Manager, Cancer Council WA, WA; Claire Smith, Chief Radiation Therapist, Oceania Oncology, QLD.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.
The information on this page is also available for download.
- Living Well After Cancer Download PDF410kB
- Understanding Chemotherapy Download PDF408kB
- Understanding Radiation Therapy Download PDF423kB
- Understanding Surgery Download PDF450kB
- Living Well After Cancer ebook Download ePUB818kB
- Understanding Chemotherapy ebook Download ePUB1.01MB
- Understanding Radiation Therapy ebook Download ePUB1001kB
- Understanding Surgery ebook Download ePUB664kB