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Both cancer and its treatment can cause appetite problems. Fear, worry, and stress also can decrease the desire to eat. On the other hand, some children may be hungry, but may feel full, reducing their food intake. Regardless of the cause, appetite problems can result in poor weight gain or weight loss if they persist.
A child’s medical condition, medication, or therapy may change his or her sense of taste. These changes, when they occur, are different for each person. For example, some children experience a bitter or metallic taste in the mouth, particularly after eating red meat. Some find that food has no taste, and request very spicy and/or salty foods, while others may want only bland foods because everything tastes too sweet to them. Try to determine which foods taste best to the child, and provide these more often. Remember, tastes may change often throughout therapy.