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Multiple Myeloma-Autologous Stem Cell Transplant = “Taste Impairments…”

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(MM) Patients reported experiencing decreased QOL at day 30 (ASCT), but gustatory sensitivity and QOL were largely recovered by day 80; investigators noted however, that some taste impairments persisted.

I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma (MM) in 2/94. I underwent an autologous stem cell transplant (ASCT) in 12/95. The number of short, long-term and late stage side effects resulting from my ASCT were beyond belief. I’ve written numerous blog posts documenting both my own as well as other common side effects. Taste Impairments are a common side effect of ASCT.

What does “some taste impairments persisted” mean? How much taste is impaired?  Maybe I should ask about taste bud damage? Persisted for how long? Do myeloma survivors have to live without taste in order to live the new normal? Most importantly, can myeloma patients and survivors acheive the best possible overall survival without having an autologous stem cell transplant? Meaning, if ASCT does not improve overall survival, is the study below one more reason not to have a transplant?

To be fair gustatory sensitivity or impaired taste to put it in everyday terminology, doesn’t seem to rise to the level of most of the serious side effects caused by high-dose chemotherapy. I am good friend’s with a guy who lost all sense of taste following the removal of a large benign brain tumor. Rich is fine post-surgery but food has lost all appeal. Like the article below explains, losing one’s sense of taste, even only partially, is a quality of life issue, not a life and dealth issue.

Like many of the other short, long-term and late stage side effects caused by high dose chemotherapy during an autologous stem cell transplant,  I am talking about this issue for two reasons. First, all “transplant eligable” patients should question the benefit of having an autologous stem cell transplant. If your oncologist doesn’t assure you of a longer overall survival, a longer life, then you should question the need for one.

Secondly, I am posting the research below to question a person’s antioxidant intake before, during and after active treatment.  Antioxidants before, during and after chemotherapy has been shown to enhance the efficacy of conventional treatments as well as minimize toxic side effects of chemotherapy.

Are you considering a autologous stem cell transplant? Scroll down the page, post a question or comment and I will reply to you ASAP.

thank you,

David Emerson

  • MM Survivor
  • MM Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

Recommended Reading:

Taste Changes After Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant Affect QOL in Blood Cancers

“Gustatory perception alterations, albeit reversible, negatively affect the quality of life (QOL) of patients with hematologic cancers who undergo hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT)…

Chemosensory changes, as well as gastrointestinal adverse events such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and mucositis, are commonly observed among patients undergoing HSCT. While the incidence of taste dysfunction — which decreases patient QOL as well as nutritional intake — is cause for little debate, the time it takes for patients to recover from taste changes requires further study…

Patients reported experiencing decreased QOL at day 30, but gustatory sensitivity and QOL were largely recovered by day 80; investigators noted however, that some taste impairments persisted.

The authors concluded that “further work is needed to understand the degree to which the relatively small and specific changes in taste perception observed with HSCT treatment in this study impact nutritional intake.””

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