Where there's a will...there's an array

The day we learned how to apply and change Optune arrays was like a festive party. We had a new weapon in our fight against GBM. And we added nCompass to our team.

Three or four days later, the day of our first scheduled array change arrived. On that day, our living room was empty. Reality set in. It was just Darrell and me.

As we began that first array change, my joy turned to fear. Despite the training we received, I was afraid. What if I didn’t do it right? What if my actions caused Darrell’s GBM to get worse? I put a lot of pressure on myself to follow all the directions, array placement maps, and rules.

But then I remembered the process we learned. I wiped my tears, followed the maps. I took my time and 40 minutes later, with the array change complete, Darrell powered up his Optune. The treatment light blinked on, and we went about our day.

Gaining Confidence

After about three changes, we hit our array change stride. I began to relax and feel that—within recommended boundaries—array changes could have an artistic element. As long as I followed the array placement map and directions, Darrell was comfortable, and the Optune light came on, I knew I completed the array change successfully.

In time, we came up with our own array change hacks to make the process smoother and more fun. We discovered that Darrell relaxes better while watching reruns of his favorite detective show.

And the day we developed our double-team approach—where Darrell shaves his head while I prepare the arrays—we cut our change time down to 20 minutes. (Of course, everyone develops their own technique, but this works well for us.)

Travel and array changes

Travel was—and is—essential to us. When we wanted to take a cross-country train trip just one week after Darrell started Optune, we called nCompass and learned about the resources available for distant array changes. They gave us some tips and sent us on our way.

On that first trip, we learned that Optune is portable in every sense. We took Optune with us and have now changed arrays in several countries, in many U.S. states, and in dozens of cities.

We’ve changed arrays at our mountain cabin, in faraway hotels, and on trains and ships. All we need is rubbing alcohol, gauze, our Pitbull razor, arrays, and array placement map. With a small Optune travel kit, the party comes with us. We are the Optune party.


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Hundreds of array changes later, we keep changing arrays…our way. Darrell gets out the equipment and prepares the arrays, we shave his head together, I place the arrays, and I manage the array maps.

I’ve learned to cut around the discs when Darrell’s scalp is irritated, and we’ve added some ointment approved by his medical team to ease those skin irritations. (Of course, this is Darrell’s experience and you should always talk to your doctor about any side effect you or your loved one may experience with Optune.)
But mostly we just keep on changing, using the same techniques we learned and then fine-tuned a little over time.

Throughout the years, what we learned about array changes is this:

  • We are never alone. nCompass support is just a phone call away.

  • The Optune materials are straightforward and portable.

  • We can change arrays on the go.

  • We have our own style, just like every other Optune team develops its signature style.

Where there’s a will…there’s an array!

Topics: Daily Life with Optune, For Caregivers
By By: Andrea, Optune® caregiver - 58, Fullerton, CA

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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.