Some people experience symptoms of anxiety and depression during treatment. This may be caused by the disruption in daily routine, fatigue or by feelings associated with the illness.
  • Anxiety: an emotional or physiological reaction to known or unknown events, ranging from a normal response to extreme dysfunction. It can affect decision-making, adherence to treatment, or the conduct and quality of life.
  • Depression: a range of feelings and emotions ranging from ordinary sadness to chronic despondency.

Life situations that increase the risk of anxiety and depression

  • Financial worries.
  • History of anxiety or depression.
  • Living alone.
  • Being socially isolated.
  • Being under the age of 30.
  • Being a woman.
  • Waiting for test results.
  • Experiencing withdrawal (tobacco, alcohol, drugs).
  • Having dependent children.
  • Living with advanced or recurrent disease.
  • Lack of physical activity.

Symptoms that increase the risk of anxiety and depression

  • Fatigue.
  • Pain.
  • Sleep disorder.
  • Breathlessness.

Signs and symptoms of anxiety

  • Episodes of sudden fear, discomfort or intense anxiety with or without panic attacks.
  • Difficulty or inability to perform daily activities.
  • Trouble sleeping.

Signs and symptoms of depression

  • Feelings of fatigue and exhaustion.
  • Difficulty or inability to perform daily activities.
  • Loss of interest in usually enjoyable activities.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Powerlessness.
  • Black or suicidal thoughts.
  • Experiencing, for two weeks or more:
    • depression or loss of pleasure;
    • a sense of worthlessness;
    • insufficient or excessive sleep;
    • a sense of guilt;
    • inability to think or concentrate;
    • weight gain or weight loss.

Helpful hints: anxiety and depression

  • Use adaptation strategies that have proven effective for overcoming difficulties in the past.
  • Express your concerns with relatives and friends or a healthcare team member.
  • Locate resources and services that can help, in consultation with the healthcare team, community associations and information and listening services.
  • Be open to support from relatives and friends: helping with housework, accompanying you to appointments, babysitting, etc.
  • Join a support group.
  • Do some moderate exercise, such as walking.
  • Participate in activities that assist in anxiety management (e.g. relaxation, yoga, visualization, listening to music, adapted readings, breathing techniques and massage therapy).
  • Get professional support by meeting with your social worker or healthcare team psychologist.

Helpful hints: depression

  • Immediately consult a family doctor or a healthcare team professional or go to emergency if these helpful hints are ineffective, if symptoms persist or intensify, or are accompanied by dark or suicidal thoughts.
  • Use telephone psychosocial support resources that are available day and night, such as Tel-Aide and the Suicide Prevention Center.
Constipation is defined as a reduction in the evacuation of feces formed in the intestine. It is characterized by harder stools and increased difficulty in evacuating.

Certain drugs used in chemotherapy have a toxic effect on the nerves, resulting in a slowing of intestinal activity that can lead to constipation. In other cases, constipation is related to the absorption of analgesics or narcotics. Also, a liquid diet over a prolonged period can result in constipation problems.

Helpful hints

  • Drink at least six to eight glasses (two to three litres) of preferably warm or hot water or other fluids every day, unless otherwise directed by your medical team.
  • Gradually increase the amount of fiber in your diet with fresh fruit, raw vegetables, wholemeal bread and whole grain cereals (effective only if accompanied by an optimal fluid intake). Add one or two tablespoons of wheat bran to cereals, fruit juice, milkshakes, au gratin dishes, etc.
  • Add laxative fruits to diet (e.g. prunes, dates or figs or prune juice or nectar).
  • Exercise regularly.

Severe constipation is painful and uncomfortable. You are advised to contact the oncology team in the following situations:

  • ​Hard, swollen abdomen;
  • Severe abdominal pain;
  • Vomiting feces;
  • Recent history of abdominal surgery;
  • Change in urinary habits;
  • Difficulty performing daily activities;
  • Three or more days without a bowel movement despite a laxative medication taken properly.
Diarrhea occurs when stools are abnormally liquid and frequent compared to your personal average (over four to six bowel movements per day). The bowel movements may or not be accompanied by abdominal cramps.

This problem could be caused by the cancer itself, by the treatment received or by the medication you are taking. Diarrhea is a common side effect of  chemotherapy or (mainly abdominal) radiotherapy.​


Helpful hints
 

  • Temporarily replace whole grain bread and grain products with refined products (white bread, white rice).
  • Drink eight to ten glasses (two to three litres) of water or other liquids at room temperature, unless otherwise advised by the medical team. Compensate for the loss of electrolytes by eating foods such as bananas and potatoes, drinking sports drinks, peach and apricot nectar, or by taking an oral rehydration solution composed of a half a teaspoon of tea salt and six teaspoons of sugar in a litre of water.
  • Eat regularly.
  • Emphasize fruits and steamed vegetables as well as fish and poultry.
  • Chew slowly.
  • Eat five or six small meals a day.
  • Watch out for signs of dehydration (e.g. dizziness, thirst, dry mouth, decreased urination).
  • Check for fever.
  • Note the number and frequency of diarrheal bowel movements so that you can inform the healthcare team.
  • Avoid the following foods:
    • strong spices;
    • fried foods;
    • very sweet foods;
    • foods that have a lot of skin, membranes and seeds;
    • fresh fruit, raw vegetables, whole grain bread and cereals;
    • onion, cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, broccoli, garlic, nuts;
    • alcohol and tobacco;
    • caffeine;
    • iced drinks;
    • milk and other dairy products.

Severe diarrhea can cause dehydration and greatly weaken a person. It is advisable to contact the oncology team in the following situations:

  • liquid stools six or more times a day for more than two consecutive days;
  • presence of blood on the anus, in the stool on the toilet paper, or in the bowl;
  • absence of urine for 24 hours;
  • signs of dehydration;
  • inability to drink for more than 24 hours;
  • fever;
  • weight loss of two kilograms or more;
  • swollen or painful abdomen.​
Taking hormone blockers may affect the functioning of the endocrine glands and slightly modify your physical appearance. However, these changes will not compromise male or female characteristics, and will not call one’s sexual identity into question.

Signs and symptoms

  • For women:
    • Hot flashes and night sweats;
    • Changes in the menstrual cycle;
    • Vaginal dryness and vaginal discharge;
    • Slight weight gain;
    • Increased risk of venous thrombosis (blood clots);
    • Increased risk of endometrial cancer (tamoxifen);
    • Joint pain and increased risk of osteoporosis.
  • In men:
    • Digestive disorders (nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain);
    • Increase in the volume of the breast or breast tenderness;
    • Hot flashes;
    • Loss of sexual desire;
    • Loss of muscle and bone mass;
    • Mood swings;
    • Fatigue. 

Helpful hints

  • Exercise and follow a balanced, or appropriate, diet to minimize possible alteration in body shape.
  • Relieve joint pain with simple analgesics such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) except if medically contraindicated.
  • Tell pharmacist about any new symptoms that could be linked to new medication (particularly early in the treatment).
  • Inform the medical team of any side effects.
To learn more about hormone therapy, visit our section.

Fatigue

Fatigue is a feeling of weariness and exhaustion, accompanied by physical weakness and lack of energy. It is disproportionate to the amount of effort expended, does not improve with rest, and interferes with the activities of daily life. Many people experience fatigue during their treatment period. In fact, "it affects 70 to 100% of people with cancer. This is the most common and most distressing symptom to occur during treatment" (NCCN-2005). Cancer-related fatigue can have many causes, for example:
  • anemia, resulting from the cancer or its treatment;
  • nutritional deficiency;
  • sleep disorders;
  • emotional distress;
  • decreased activity;
  • pain;
  • type of treatment.

Anemia

Anemia is characterized by a decrease in the number of red blood cells (erythrocytes). This decrease means a lower level of hemoglobin, a major component of red blood cells, which are responsible for transporting oxygen to body tissues. Reduced levels of hemoglobin in the blood result in less oxygen being delivered to the tissues.

Signs and symptoms

  • sudden feeling of extreme tiredness;
  • excessive need to sit or rest;
  • rapid heartbeat;
  • chest pain;
  • problems sleeping;
  • difficulty getting up in the morning.
  • lack of energy.
  • lack of interest in activities one usually enjoys.
  • muscle pain;
  • shortness of breath after light activity, even at rest;
  • feelings of anxiety or depression;
  • difficulty concentrating, thinking clearly or making decisions;
  • negative feelings towards oneself or others.

Helpful hints

  • Rest when fatigue is felt and, if possible, before and after each chemotherapy or radiotherapy session.
  • To improve the quality of sleep, we recommend that you:
    • avoid long naps or napping late in afternoon;
    • go to bed only when you feel tired;
    • use your bed only for sleeping or sexual activity;
    • go to bed and get up at regular times;
    • avoid caffeine and stimulating activities in the evening;
    • relax for an hour before going to bed.
  • Follow a healthy diet rich in protein, fruits and vegetables.
  • Drink eight to ten glasses (two to three litres) of fluids a day, unless otherwise specified by the medical team.
  • Choose simple, quick dishes.
  • Eat several small meals and snacks a day to ensure a regular supply of calories to the body, requiring a lower expenditure of energy.
  • If necessary, set up a meal schedule to avoid skipping.
  • Save your energy for enjoyable activities and do them when it is at its highest.
  • Request help with housework and home maintenance.
  • Take up restful activities such as reading, games, music and art.
  • Participate in activities promoting relaxation, such as massage therapy, meditation, visualization and yoga.
  • Join an anxiety management or support group.
  • Ask the medical team about options for treating or preventing anemia and the fatigue symptoms associated with it.
  • Engage in physical activity:
    • Do some moderate physical activity (e.g. daily walks during and after anti-cancer treatment), as this promotes better energy renewal and conservation;
    • Aim for a balance between activity and rest, because too much rest or lack of activity can alter the ability of muscle tissue to oxygenate, leading to muscle loss and additional fatigue;
    • Avoid feeling guilty for not immediately being able to make an effort. Doing nothing and resting may be a priority;
    • Adapt your physical activity to your individual ability. Above all, it should be a source of pleasure and well-being.
For additional information, or for guidance in maintaining or resuming physical activity, see one of the Quebec Cancer Foundation’s kinesiologists. After listening to your needs, they will be able to design an appropriate and accessible exercise program for you. Call the regional centre nearest you to make an appointment with a professional or call 1 800 363-0063 (toll free).

 

 

A decrease in the number of platelets in the blood (thrombopenia or thrombocytopenia), as a result of chemotherapy or radiation therapy, can give rise to prolonged bleeding or haemorrhaging.
  • Bleeding: blood loss, bruising (contusions) or petechiæ (small red spots under the skin) can result from a decrease in the quantity or quality of blood platelets, an alteration in coagulation factors or many other causes.
  • Hemorrhaging: bleeding, or blood escaping from the normal circulatory system of the heart and blood vessels. Hemorrhages are called "external" when bleeding is visible and "internal" when it cannot be seen (occult bleeding). It can be of capillary, venous or arterial origin. (Source: Wikipedia)

Signs and symptoms

  • Appearance of small red spots or bruises on the skin, especially in the lower and upper extremities or in the mucous membranes.
  • Prolonged bleeding following a surface cut or scratch.
  • Spontaneous bleeding from the mouth, nose, vagina, rectum and urethra.
  • Blood in the urine, feces or vomit.
  • Abnormal blood flow during menstruation.
  • Black stools.

Helpful hints

  • Protect your skin:
    • Avoid violent or hazardous physical activities;
    • Avoid wearing tight clothes and rigid fabrics;
    • Use an electric razor;
    • Use an emery board nail file.
  • Apply firm pressure for 5 to 10 minutes to stop bleeding if you cut yourself. Tell the medical team immediately if the bleeding persists for more than 15 minutes.
  • Protect your oral mucosa:
    • Avoid foods that may be irritating due to their acidity, spiciness, temperature or texture;
    • Protect your lips against chapping and dryness;
    • Clean your teeth with a soft brush;
    • Gently massage your gums (don’t use dental floss or toothpicks);
    • Gargle frequently to keep your mouth clean and bacteria-free;
    • Get your doctor’s approval prior to dental care.
  • Protect your gastrointestinal mucosa:
    • Drink plenty of water (two to three litres per day), unless otherwise specified by the medical team;
    • Exercise to prevent constipation;
    • Avoid the use of suppositories or strong laxatives;
    • Avoid enemas;
    • Avoid taking your temperature rectally.
  • Protect the lining of your airways:
    • Blow gently through both nostrils simultaneously, if you need to blow your nose;
    • Avoid blowing hard;
    • Sneeze with your mouth open, if necessary.
  • Protect the lining of your genitourinary system:
    • Drink at least 10 glasses (two to three litres) of fluids a day, unless otherwise directed by your medical team;
    • Avoid the use of vaginal douches and suppositories;
    • Use a vaginal lubricant during intercourse.
  • Have the treatment team verify your platelet count, and if it is abnormally low:
    • Avoid doing work that requires constant, demanding effort;
    • Avoid making forced exhalation with your mouth closed, while lifting heavy objects, standing up, or when on the toilet;
    • Refrain from lifting heavy objects with arms outstretched while leaning forward;
    • Avoid taking medications that may prolong bleeding time, e.g. aspirin and its derivatives, anticoagulants and alcoholic beverages.

Prolonged bleeding or hemorrhage can be serious enough to put your life in danger. You are advised to contact the oncology team in the following situations:

  • Nosebleed;
  • Blood in urine;
  • Blood in stool;
  • Blood in sputum;
  • Presence of several contusions (bruises) on the skin.

Report to emergency in the following cases:

  • Continuous nosebleed, even after applying pressure for ten minutes;
  • Vomiting blood;
  • Blood in the sputum accompanied by difficulty breathing;
  • For women: using more than one sanitary napkin per hour.
The mucous membranes in the mouth and throat are very sensitive tissue and are therefore more affected by certain treatments.

Useful tips

  • Eat as usual, but change the texture of food so as not to irritate your mouth and throat.
  • Cook food longer than usual.
  • Add broth, vegetable cooking water, milk soup or clear soup to cooked food.
  • Use baby food as a replacement for home-made puree if you are unable to cook.
  • Place these foods in the freezer for about five minutes before eating; their taste will be more enjoyable.
  • Mix pureed meat into soups, clear soups, creams and vegetable purees.
  • Grind nuts and grains into a fine powder and mix with yogurt, ice cream and fruit compote.
  • Avoid:
    • Strong and pungent spices, such as curry, chili, pepper, etc. Go for milder seasonings, such as herbs and onion powder;
    • Pickled or acidic foods (lemons, oranges, etc.);
    • Very salty or hard foods (vegetables, toast, nuts, etc.);
    • Vey hot food (let it cool down);
    • Tobacco and alcoholic beverages.
  • Put the meal through a blender: when pain in the mouth or throat makes it difficult or impossible to handle solid food, putting the food through the blender is the ideal solution. By altering the texture of food, you can eat what the rest of family is eating at any time, and even try out new recipes. Here are some tips for better mixing:
    • Make sure meat is cooked before putting it into the blender;
    • Cut cooked food and bread into cubes;
    • Melt butter and margarine before adding, so that they blend better with other foods;
    • Add enough liquid to achieve the desired consistency. One portion of liquid to one solid portion usually produces the right consistency;
    • Season less liberally, because the taste is more pronounced in a liquid meal than in a solid meal.

Stomatitis: definition

An inflammation of the mouth and a potentially ulcerous, uncomfortable and painful condition that primarily affects the oral mucous membrane, the soft palate, the anterior part of the tongue and the floor of the mouth, and may be accompanied by infection. Associated symptoms may make chewing, swallowing and speech difficult. Radiation therapy to the region of the head and throat (ENT sphere cancers) and certain chemotherapies are the most common causes of stomatitis.

Signs and symptoms

  • Redness and swelling at the corners (junction) of mucosal tissue and on the lips.
  • Sensation of dryness and burning in the mouth.
  • White spots on the tongue and mucous membrane, accompanied by a metallic taste in the mouth; these spots detach easily to reveal a red, ulcerated surface;
  • Appearance, especially on the lips, painful and irritating vesicles (blisters), that itch and are filled with pus (herpes simplex);

Helpful hints

  • ​Have a high protein snack following the treatment session.
  • Favor a soft, nutritious diet.
  • Start the meal by lubricating your mouth with a tablespoon of cream or oil.
  • Take small sips of water between bites to moisten your mouth.
  • Avoid liquids coming into contact with an irritated mouth by using a straw.
  • Consume iced foods or liquids to help relieve the symptoms of irritation.
  • Rest in a sitting position in a quiet room (avoid lying down for at least two hours after eating).
  • Examine your mouth every day, morning and night, and note any changes in the appearance and texture of your mouth, lips, gums, teeth, saliva and tongue.
  • Monitor any change of taste in your mouth and in your taste perception.
  • Drink ice water or suck ice cubes for 30 minutes during chemotherapy.
  • Maintain oral hygiene:
    • Clean your mouth within 30 minutes after eating and repeat every 4 hours;
    • Avoid commercially-available toothpastes and mouthwashes as well as antiseptics based on glycerine and lemon because they contain chemicals that irritate and dry out the oral mucosa;
    • Replace your usual toothpaste and mouthwash with a solution of water, salt and baking soda:
      • Recipe: mix one teaspoon of salt and one spoonful of baking soda with one litre of boiled water. This solution must be prepared daily and kept at room temperature;
    • Gargle for at least 30 seconds with 15 ml of this solution, spit and repeat 4 times a day, more often if necessary;
    • Brush your teeth with a soft brush or a foam mini-brush at least twice a day and floss once a day if tolerated (do not floss or use toothpicks if gums are bleeding);
    • Clean dentures just as often; if your mouth is very painful, only wear them to eat;
    • Keep lips moist with cream or ointment for the lips;
    • Drink two to three litres of fluid per day, unless otherwise directed by the medical team.
  • Avoid alcohol, tobacco and foods that can irritate the oral mucosa due to their acidity, seasoning or texture.

Stomatitis can be very painful and uncomfortable. We advise you to contact the oncology team in the following situations:

  • Presence of painful or bleeding ulcers (four or more);
  • Unrelieved pain;
  • Significant weight loss for one or two weeks;
  • Inability to drink or eat;
  • Difficulty breathing.

Dry Mouth (xerostomia)

Some treatments that affect the salivary glands can reduce saliva production. They can also make your saliva thick and sticky. This results in discomfort, influences food intake and increases the risk of cavities. It is common in people receiving radiation therapy to the head and throat (ENT). Rigorous oral and dental hygiene is required to counter or mitigate these effects.

Helpful hints

  • Drink two to three litres of fluid per day, unless otherwise directed by the medical team.​
  • Eat popsicles or drink iced water or unsweetened fruit juice.
  • Eat sweets or sugarless gum designed to promote salivation; you can find these in pharmacies.
  • Eat meat together with sauce and broth to help you swallow it more easily.
  • Avoid drinks and foods that make you thirsty: coffee, dark chocolate, salt, spices, alcohol, sauces and savory dishes.
  • Use a spray or gel saliva substitute (sold in pharmacies).
  • Prevent ulcers and tooth decay by maintaining good oral and dental hygiene.
  • Moisturize your lips with a cream or ointment for the lips.
  • Make sure to rinse your mouth in the morning because saliva that has accumulated during the night can cause nausea.
  • Use a mild mouthwash consisting of the following solution: one teaspoon of salt and one teaspoon of baking soda mixed with one litre of boiled water. Repeat several times a day, and continue to use it in addition to any mouthwash prescribed by the oncologist.
  • Brush your teeth after every meal.
  • Drink unsweetened or sugarless lime or lemon beverages or add some lemon juice to a glass of water.​
Lymphedema is a swelling caused by an abnormal accumulation of fluid in the subcutaneous tissue. There are two types of lymphedema: primary lymphedema, which may be present at birth or develop later, and secondary lymphedema, which is caused by damage to the lymphatic system due to trauma, surgery or radiation having affected the lymph nodes or vessels. (Source: Lymphedema Association of Quebec)

Signs and symptoms

  • Swelling, sudden or gradual, noticeable by the indentation left by pressing the skin or by tight clothing or jewelry.
  • Feel of heaviness, tightness.
  • Pain, throbbing or tenderness.
  • Swelling increases in hot, humid weather, or after exercise.

You need to be on the lookout for symptoms and see a doctor or a specialized lymphedema therapist upon the onset of symptoms, since early treatment helps minimize swelling and reduce complications. Request immediate medical treatment if the following signs appear (cellulitis):

  • Spreading redness or rash, accompanied by itching;
  • Increased swelling;
  • An increase in skin temperature;
  • A sudden fever and chills.

Preventing lymphedema after a dissection

For those who have had a lymph node dissection (removal of nodes from the armpit) following breast surgery, steps need to be taken to resist infection and to facilitate circulation, since their defense system on the operated side has been modified. In addition, the skin in the operated area is more sensitive, which is why extra care needs to be taken.

IMPORTANT: These precautions do not apply to those who have only had a sentinel node biopsy.

Helpful hints

  • Protect your skin and devote meticulous attention to reducing the risk of infection (cellulitis).
  • Cleanse the skin thoroughly with mild soap, dry well and apply a moisturizer.
  • Be very careful to avoid cuts, scrapes, splinters and stings. Use an electric razor to avoid cuts and skin irritation.
  • If cut or scratched, clean the wound with soap, apply a disinfectant and, if necessary, an antibiotic ointment.
  • Protect skin with sunscreen with a high sunburn protection factor and with mosquito repellent to avoid bites and insect bites.
  • Exercise regularly to reactivate blood flow in the operated arm.
  • Avoid moving or carrying very heavy objects with the operated arm, and until functional recovery of the arm.
  • Make sure not to have any tight sleeves, jewelry or bracelets on the operated side.
  • Avoid lying on your arm on the operated side if it tends to swell or is painful.
  • Inform the medical team if there is any swelling, itching, or skin discolouration in the operated area or swelling of the arm and hand.
  • Avoid, if possible, taking your blood pressure on the arm on the operated side.
  • Do not hesitate to use your arms, even if there is numbness in the arm on the operated side, since this is a normal phenomenon that gradually recedes.
  • Avoid, if possible, any blood tests or injections on the operated side, except in cases of extreme emergency. In addition, no vaccine should be administered to the operated arm.
  • Allow your nails to grow on the side of the operated arm; do not cut the cuticles. Avoid injury during the manicure.
  • Wear rubber gloves when washing in hot water, performing yard work or using steel wool.
  • Eating a balanced diet and maintain an average body weight.
  • Avoid extremes in temperature, such as intense cold or long exposure to high heat (e.g. hot tubs and saunas).

Additional precautions when traveling by air

  • Wearing a compression garment to prevent or limit swelling due to drop in atmospheric pressure.
  • Consult a qualified therapist before a flight.
  • Move the affected limb often during the trip flight keep the lymph fluid moving.
  • Drink enough water before and during the flight to avoid dehydration.
Please click on the following links for more information:

Le lymphœdème, c’est possible de le prévenir et de le traiter. (French only)

(Sources : www.infolympho.ca and www.centredesmaladiesdusein.ca/fileadmin/cha/Microsite/CMS/traitements1.pdf)

Exercise

To prevent lymphedema or improve fitness, the kinesiologists at the Quebec Cancer Foundation offer a personalized program that includes specific exercises, such as crunches, rotations and exercises with weights, to those affected by cancer . Call the nearest regional center to make an appointment with a professional. 

Régie de l'assurance maladie du Québec Assistance Program

A multilayer repayment program for bandages and compression garments used to treat lymphedema has been available since January 1, 2014. This program contributes toward improving access to treatment, since lymphedema is still not covered under the public insurance plan. For details, visit Portal santé mieux-être du government du Québec.

For more information, visit the website of our partner the Lymphedema Association of Quebec.
 
Skin conditions are some of the temporary, occasional effects of chemotherapy. The most frequently observed signs include dry skin, changes in color, increased sensitivity to sunlight, ulcers or acne reactions. During combined chemotherapy and radiotherapy, a rash may develop on an area of the body that has been irradiated.

The skin on the area treated by radiotherapy may become red, irritated, tanned or appear to be suffering from a sunburn. These predictable side effects should clear up after the end of treatment.

Useful tips

  • Don’t use soap, cosmetics, perfume, ointment that is not prescribed by your doctor, sun lamps or hot water bottles;
  • Use only lukewarm water, never hot;
  • Don’t expose the treated area to sun and cold;
  • Avoid wearing scratchy fabrics and tight-fitting clothing;
  • Use mild soap to wash clothes that come in direct contact with the skin;
  • Avoid public pools;
  • Avoid rubbing, scratching or massaging the skin; if you experience itching, your doctor may prescribe a cortisone spray.
While undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy, some people notice that their food has a bitter or metallic taste. Others find meat to have an unpleasant taste. Flavours, such as sweet or salty, can also be perceived differently.

Helpful hints

  • Brush your teeth before each meal with a soft brush so as not to irritate your mouth.
  • Avoid mouthwashes containing alcohol.
  • Start your meal with fresh fruit.
  • Give preference to your favorite foods.
  • Eat food cold or at room temperature rather than hot.
  • Replace beef and pork with other sources of protein (chicken, fish, tofu, beans, chickpeas, lentils and other legumes).
  • Incorporate meat into soups and sauces, cut into small pieces or pureed.
  • Before cooking meat, marinate it in sweet fruit juices, Italian dressing, or sweet and sour sauce.
  • Sprinkle hot or ready-to-serve cereals with ground nuts.
  • Season meat with various spices or herbs, such as basil, oregano or rosemary.
  • Avoid very hot spices (paprika, pepper, mustard, etc.) and pickled or salted foods.
  • Try eating sour foods (unless they are painful to the mucous membranes in your mouth) such as oranges, lemonade, cranberry juice, pickles and pineapples, in order to promote salivation and reduce the metallic taste.
  • Mask the bitter, metallic taste in the mouth with fruit, chewing gum and sugar-free lemonade.
  • Use plastic utensils if the food has a metallic taste.
  • Eliminate foods that have a strong odour (coffee, certain fish, cabbage, onions, broccoli, etc.).
  • Rinse your mouth several times a day because food tastes better when your mouth and teeth are clean:
    • Recipe: mix one teaspoon of baking soda and one teaspoon of salt in one litre of water.
  • Eliminate unpleasant odours from the air.

Comment on this article