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Stanley Tucci recalls losing his taste during cancer treatment

Stanley Tucci (Matt Crossick/PA)
Stanley Tucci (Matt Crossick/PA)

Stanley Tucci has admitted he was “very afraid” to undergo treatment for cancer because he feared he would permanently lose his taste.

The actor, 60, was diagnosed with the condition three years ago after a tumour was found at the base of his tongue.

Speaking on the BBC’s The One Show, he said he was “without question” fearful of undergoing high-dose radiation, which directly targets the tumour to avoid damaging healthy tissue.

He said: “I was very afraid to do the treatments but I had no option. The treatments were high-dose radiation and chemotherapy.

“It was the high-dose radiation that completely damages your salivary glands, your taste buds. And they assured me that they would come back, and they did.

“Not everything is where it should be three years on.

“However, it gets progressively better year after year. The taste buds came back pretty quickly but I had to eat through a feeding tube for six months and lost a lot of weight.

“It has taken three years to really get back.”

BFI London Film Festival
Tucci recently starred alongside Colin Firth in Supernova (Aaron Chown/PA)

The American actor, who has Italian heritage, appeared on the show to promote his book Taste and recalled the excitement and relief he felt when his taste returned.

He said: “It was so exciting because I kept dreaming about food and wanting food. But I couldn’t smell it. Everything smelt terrible and tasted terrible.

“I can’t remember what the first thing was but I do remember going out for a meal with Colin Firth, my friend, we went to a restaurant that we go to near our houses.

“And I had gnocchi with pesto and green beans and it was so delicious that I was so thrilled.”

Best known for appearing in the films The Devil Wears Prada and The Hunger Games, Tucci recently starred alongside Firth in Supernova, in which they play a couple visiting friends, family and places from their past in an old camper van as they struggle with a diagnosis of early-onset dementia.

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