We are not supporting this browser

Importance of sensory alterations for cancer patients with taste changes

The Journal of Supportive Care in Cancer published a new study, showing that taste and smell alterations are common in patients receiving systemic antitumor therapy and that nutritional support specifically designed to better address sensory alterations is appreciated in these patients.

Common in patients with cancer undergoing systemic anti-cancer treatment, taste and smell alterations may develop throughout the course of cancer (before and during) and last up to one year after treatment, with up to 70% of cancer patients experiencing taste changes during chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Sensory alterations in advanced cancer have been found to contribute to a substantial decrease in caloric intake, increasing the risk of malnutrition. Sensory changes have also been associated with poorer social-emotional function and overall quality of life in cancer. Nutritional interventions in cancer, such as the use of Oral Nutritional Supplements (ONS), can improve overall energy and protein intake, overall body weight, muscle mass and aspects of quality of life.

In line with previous findings, this new study shows that:

  • Overall, 60% of patients who participated in this study reported taste alterations, and taste alterations were reported to adversely impact on patients' daily life.
  • Patients with taste alterations demonstrated a larger variation in overall liking score per ONS flavour compared to patients without taste alterations.
  • Sensory adapted flavours appear to be appreciated by patients with taste alterations

It is important that healthcare professionals consider the presence of taste alterations in clinical practice, particularly when selecting an ONS and offering flavour options to patients with cancer. Both taste and flavour offering are important factors which can influence ONS compliance.2, 3 

Read more
  1. Spotten LE, et al. Subjective and objective taste and smell changes in cancer. Ann Oncol. 2017 May 1;28(5):969-984.
  2. Ruxton C. Compliance with ONS and the Role of Taste. CN Focus. 2014; (Vol. 6, No. 2).
  3. Hubbard GP, et al. A systematic review of compliance to oral nutritional supplements. Clin Nutr. 2012 Jun;31(3):293-312. 

Nutricia uses cookies on this website. With your consent we will use them to measure and analyze usage of the website (analytical cookies), to tailor it to your interests (personalisational cookies), and to present you relevant advertising and information (targeting cookies). For more information please read the cookie policy.

Privacy Settings

You can choose your preferences anytime for cookies and tracking. For more information please read our cookie policy.

  • Strictly necessary

    They are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off. They are usually only set in response to actions made by you which amount to a request for services (setting your privacy preferences, logging in, filling in forms, etc.). You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not then work.

  • Analytical cookies

    They allow us to count visits and traffic sources, to measure and improve the performance of our site. They show us which pages are the most and least popular and how visitors move around the site. If you do not allow these cookies we will not know when you have visited our site, and will not be able to monitor its performance.

  • Personalisation cookies

    They enable website’s enhanced functionality and personalisation. They may be set by us or by third parties whose services we have added to our pages. If you do not allow these cookies, some or all of these services may not function properly.

  • Targeting cookies

    They may be set through our site by our advertising partners, to build a profile of your interests and to show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.