Bitter/ Metal Taste

Hey there,

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2020 at the age of 32. I had chemo, mastecomy, diep recon, kadcyla. It was HER2+, no hormone receptors, no lymph node involvement. I am not on any ongoing treatment as no hormone receptors.

I do take velaflaxine for anxiety since my diagnosis and over the last few months I have been lowering my dose to try and reduce withdrawal symptoms - I have now been off completely for 6 days.

However, I have been experiencing an odd taste in my mouth - sort of bitter/ metal taste as well as an odd sensitivity sensation in my teeth. It comes off and on in severity but has been there since end of September time. I did have a sinus issue just before it came on so I put it down to that but its gone on a while now and I dont have sinus symptoms. So then I thought maybe it was the drug withdrawal maybe.

However, I then consulted Dr Google (silly me!) and ended up in a rabbit hole about this potentially being linked to liver cancer and Im now worried about secondary breast cancer in my liver - is this something that is seen??

As a backdrop, I have already emailed by breast care nurse who said this isnt something they would associate with secondary BC and I also have an appointment with the dentist next week to double check teeth etc, but I guess I was just looking for another opinion on the secondary BC front!

Thanks in advance,


Hello Georgie,

Thanks for posting.

Its natural to be concerned about any new symptom after a diagnosis of breast cancer.

There can be a range of causes for a metallic taste the mouth and as your breast care nurse its not a symptom typically associated with secondary breast cancer. It’s always important to get changes checked out though as you are doing.

We’ve not been able to find anything to suggest it’s a side effect of coming off venlafaxine, a dry mouth is a side effect of taking it. Your dentist can check for any gum disease or oral issues, and they may suggest seeing a dental hygienist.

You may be interested to know that we have specific services for younger women with or who have had breast cancer. You can find out more here.

Do call our helpline if you would like to talk this through or have any further questions. The helpline team have time to listen, talk things through and signpost you to more support and information if necessary. Your call will be confidential, and the number is free from UK landlines and all mobile networks. The number is 0808 800 6000, (Relay UK -prefix 18001).

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Best wishes


Breast Care Nurse

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