Everything tastes sour

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Hi all,

I finished 3 weeks’ worth of radiotherapy yesterday. The side effects relating to my taste buds have been cumulative- treatment was to my nasal passage so has affected my palate. My radio oncologist wasn’t very forthcoming about how long I could experience this but it’s really limiting what I feel I can manage as most things are sour tasting and vegetables taste dreadful. 

I love to cook and eat and managed so well during chemotherapy so this has been a real shock to me as it’s often viewed as the easier option. Feeling really down and concerned about nutrition. 

Any tips gratefully received 


  • Hi Jules , I am sorry to hear the challenges you are having post your Radiotherapy. I had 45 zaps of Radiotherapy but I was fortunate that due to where I was treated it did not effect my taste. But I did have over 750hrs of strong chemo so a big yes to taste challenges.

    My thought process was always to get fuel into my body, as food is fuel and fuel is energy.

    I also love food and to play around in the kitchen but found everything tasted wrong...... but things will improve.... how long it that length of string question. For me it was a good 4 months.

    Strong tasting food helped so we played around with spices but the bottom line was what ever we were eating was high in protein to keep my strength up and aid recovery..... you will get there  ((hugs))

    Mike (Thehighlander)

    It always seems impossible until its done - Nelson Mandela

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  • Hi Jules. RT to the mouth and nasopharynx area always does this. I had more ( six weeks) than you and I had to cope with disrupted taste for months. It does  get better but it might not be quite the same 

    The other thing to ask about is reflux  it’s common with RT to the region. That might give you a sour taste.  

    Head on over to the head and neck cancer group. There’s lots of help there if you want to talk with fellow sufferers 



    Base of tongue cancer. T2N0M0 6 weeks Radiotherapy finished January 2019

    I wrote a blog about my cancer. just click on the link below 


    Macmillan Support Line - 0808 808 00 00, 7 days a week between 8am-8pm

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  • Thankyou Beesuit. That is a lot of treatment and I really appreciate your honesty. I read something earlier about reflux and sour taste - hadn’t thought of that. I know it sounds silly but hadn’t thought of the head and neck cancer group either. 

    All the best 


  • Hey Mike, good to hear from you and thanks very much for the insights. I know I haven’t been eating enough protein or vegetables and I need to address that. The irony was that chemotherapy gifted me with a great appetite and apart from day 1, no odd taste. 

    I will start the day afresh tomorrow. Fortunately builder’s tea tastes ok so I’m staying hydrated at least - forcing down pints of filtered water but it tastes bitter too.

    All the best to you