A Routine Adventure: Traveling with Optune

Before my GBM diagnosis, I’d traveled to all but 5 of the 50 U.S. states and 21 foreign countries. I used to travel frequently for work and pleasure, so naturally, when I started on Optune®, I had questions about travel.

The week after I started Optune, I was scheduled to accept an award at my undergraduate alma mater which would require a flight from Texas to Missouri and then a 90-minute car ride to and from the airport.

I was determined to travel to accept my award for Young Alumni of the Year no matter what.

So, after consulting with nCompass™, Novocure’s support program, obtaining travel documentation, and arranging for extra supplies to be delivered to my hotel, I calmed my nerves and proceeded with my plans. To my surprise, I found travel with Optune to be different than I’d expected. Not only was I able to go to Missouri and accept my award while using Optune, I was also able to travel to five conferences, speak at two fundraising events, and speak at a press conference outside of the U.S. Supreme Court—all of which required me to do quite a bit of traveling.
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On the move with Optune

I have done a cross-country road trip and even gone on a cruise to Alaska. I also frequently travel to visit family and friends. Traveling is important to me and has always been a huge part of my routine. So I was determined to keep it up, even while using Optune. But it did take more preparation and work than it did in the past. So I have a few tips that might help.

Here’s how I travel with Optune:
  • I always ensure I have working batteries. When traveling, I like to have at least five fully charged batteries on hand.
  • When flying, I request a wheelchair. This helps eliminate the extra burden of carrying your device and necessary equipment through security and to your gate.
  • I request pre-boarding status. I find I need extra time to situate my device and carry-on luggage when flying.
  • I fly nonstop—when possible. This reduces the chances of delays, cancellations, lost luggage, and all of the things that make traveling difficult.
  • When I’m able to afford to do so, I like to upgrade to extra leg room on airplanes, or request a free upgrade. Having more room helps me when it comes time to place my device under my seat.
  • And lastly, I always ask for help when I need it. Whether on the road or flying, I find fellow passengers, fellow road warriors, and airline personnel are typically very helpful.

Of course, if you have any questions about traveling with Optune, be sure to consult with your doctor and nCompass. They helped me make an action plan for traveling with Optune, and I learned a few other tricks along the way, too.
Topics: Daily Life with Optune
By Jeanneane, Optune patient, Wylie, TX

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What is Optune® approved to treat?

Optune is a wearable, portable, FDA-approved device indicated to treat a type of brain cancer called glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) in adult patients 22 years of age or older.

Newly diagnosed GBM

If you have newly diagnosed GBM, Optune is used together with a chemotherapy called temozolomide (TMZ) if:

Recurrent GBM

If your tumor has come back, Optune can be used alone as an alternative to standard medical therapy if:

What is Optune Lua approved to treat?

Optune Lua is a wearable, portable, FDA-approved device indicated for the treatment of adult patients, with unresectable, locally advanced or metastatic, malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) to be used together with standard chemotherapy (pemetrexed and platinum-based chemotherapy).

Who should not use Optune for GBM or Optune Lua for MPM?

Optune for GBM and Optune Lua for MPM are not for everyone. Talk to your doctor if you have:

Do not use Optune for GBM or Optune Lua for MPM if you are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant. It is not known if Optune/Optune Lua is safe or effective during pregnancy.

What should I know before using Optune for GBM or Optune Lua for MPM?

Optune and Optune Lua should only be used after receiving training from qualified personnel, such as your doctor, a nurse, or other medical staff who have completed a training course given by Novocure®, the maker of Optune and Optune Lua.

What are the possible side effects of Optune for GBM and Optune Lua for MPM?

The most common side effects of Optune when used together with chemotherapy for GBM (temozolomide or TMZ) were low blood platelet count, nausea, constipation, vomiting, tiredness, seizure, and depression.

The most common side effects when using Optune alone for GBM were scalp irritation (redness and itchiness) and headache. Other side effects were malaise, muscle twitching, fall and skin ulcers.

The most common side effects of Optune Lua when used together with chemotherapy for MPM (pemetrexed and platinum-based chemotherapy) were low red blood cell count, constipation, nausea, tiredness, chest pain, fatigue, skin irritation from device use, itchy skin, and cough.

Other potential adverse effects associated with the use of Optune Lua include: treatment related skin irritation, allergic reaction to the plaster or to the gel, electrode overheating leading to pain and/or local skin burns, infections at sites of electrode contact with the skin, local warmth and tingling sensation beneath the electrodes, muscle twitching, medical device site reaction and skin breakdown/skin ulcer.

Talk to your doctor if you have any of these side effects or questions.

Caution: Federal law restricts Optune Lua to sale by or on the order of a physician. Humanitarian Device. Authorized by Federal Law for use in the treatment of adult patients with unresectable, locally advanced or metastatic, malignant pleural mesothelioma concurrently with pemetrexed and platinum-based chemotherapy. The effectiveness of this device for this use has not been demonstrated.

Please click here to see the Optune Instructions for Use (IFU) for complete information regarding the device's indications, contraindications, warnings, and precautions.

Please click here to see the Optune Lua IFU for complete information regarding the device's indications, contraindications, warnings, and precautions.

On this site, patient and healthcare professional videos as well as all images labeled as Optune users, caregivers, or healthcare professionals depict actual patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals. All other depictions of patients and caregivers are actor portrayals. Patient images reflect the health status of the patients at the time each photo was taken.

What is Optune approved to treat?

Optune is indicated to treat a type of brain cancer called glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) in adult patients 22 years of age or older.