Stanley Tucci health: Star lost his taste during treatment for disease – ‘horrible’

Stanley Tucci discusses his late wife Kate

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One of Tucci’s prized possessions is his taste buds. In his series Searching for Italy he discovers the secret cuisines of Italy while retracing his family’s Italian roots. But great taste isn’t something Tucci takes for granted. The star described how everything he ate tasted like “wet cardboard slathered with someone’s excrement” after his tongue was zapped by radiation during cancer treatment.

Tucci, whose wife died of cancer in 2009, found himself enduring the same “horrible” treatment she did for breast cancer.

Four years ago, the star was given a high dose of radiation and chemotherapy to destroy the tumour on his tongue.

He told Vera magazine: “I’d vowed I’d never do anything like that, because my first wife died of cancer, and to watch her go through those treatments for years was horrible.”

Normally, the first port of call for cancer patients is surgery which takes out the tumour and nearby tissue.

However, Tucci recalled in Good Morning America that the tumor was “too long” so he had to go straight to chemo.

He said: “I couldn’t do surgery, the tumour was too long, but luckily it had not metastasized, so high-dose radiation and chemotherapy are the only things that can help and luckily the cure rate was very high.

“I lost 30 pounds and my taste buds and saliva glands were destroyed as was the inside of my mouth.

“It’s taken really three years to get back to almost normal.”

Radiotherapy involves beaming down high-energy radiation onto a particular part of the body to damage the DNA of cancer cells.

These cancer cells die as they are incapable of repairing whereas the surrounding tissue, which is also affected, repairs.

The other treatment Tucci had, chemotherapy, uses medicine to destroy cancer cells around the entire body.

As the actor pointed out, these treatments can have side effects.

These can range from mild to severe.

As well as losing his taste, the actor’s treatment also made eating difficult.

“I had to chew it for 10 minutes to get it down my throat … [sometimes] I just had to get rid of the food,” he told the New York Times.

Other side effects include nausea, hair loss and anemia.

Despite his reservations about the surgery, the star described how grateful he was to get the chance to stick around.

“It’s a small price to pay for being alive and being able to enjoy the company of my family,” he said.

The NHS has several recommendations for people going through chemotherapy that might lose their appetite.

“You may lose your appetite while you’re having chemotherapy, but you should try to drink plenty of fluids and eat what you can,” states the health body.

It suggests doing the following:

  • eat smaller meals more often instead of three larger meals each day
  • eat healthy snacks regularly
  • eat light meals on the day of your treatment
  • sip drinks slowly through a straw, rather than drinking them straight from a glassTucci is now married to Felicity Blunt and has five kids, including a five-year-old and a two-year-old who were born during his treatment period.

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