Purpose: Chemosensory changes are frequently observed side effects of cytotoxic treatment and have an impact on daily life by altering food-related behaviour and daily practices. For oesophagogastric cancer patients, these changes can be particularly important as they may have specific needs with regard to eating, due to obstruction of the upper intestinal tract. The purpose of this study was to gain insight into the impact of chemosensory and food-related changes in oesophagogastric cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and how this may influence the practical and social aspects of food-related behaviour of patients and their relatives. Methods: We used a qualitative interview approach with a cross-sectional design using semi-structured interviews. Template analysis was used to analyse patients’ experiences with and the impact of chemosensory changes on daily life. Thirteen advanced oesophagogastric cancer patients treated with capecitabine and oxaliplatin were included by convenience sampling, recruited from one academic hospital, and interviewed at home or in the hospital. Results: There was a large variation in the impact of chemosensory changes in oesophagogastric cancer (OGC) patients, though daily life was impacted substantially when chemosensory and/or food-related changes were experienced. Three main themes emerged from the interviews: altered food preferences, practical constraints in daily life, and impact on social functioning. Conclusion: Chemosensory and food-related changes significantly influenced food preferences and had practical and social consequences in daily life of patients and their relatives. Specific nutritional care for these patients should be directed towards enhancing food enjoyment and should take the specific needs, related to the location of the tumour, into account.
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