Explaining Optune® to Others

Taking on a new look

When I started Optune, I had no idea what kind of questions I was in for while using it in public until I experienced it firsthand.

After being diagnosed with glioblastoma, I had open and honest discussions with my doctor about potential treatments. This is how I came to learn about Optune. I was told how it could help me manage the disease. But I was also told I had to shave my full head of hair, which was difficult for me. My hair was part of my identity, it took a lot of me to get rid of it. It was also what differentiated me from my brothers—who were all bald!

It took some time to get used to once I finally shaved my head, but I slowly became accustomed to it. I used to feel awkward and uncomfortable, especially out in public. I always felt people were staring at me. Most of the time, I wear a hat out in public to protect the arrays, not because I thought people would be staring.


Having open conversations

I was uncomfortable going out in public with Optune at first, so I started wearing a do rag to cover the arrays whenever I went out which helped me get over being uncomfortable. However, when I don’t wear anything over my arrays, Optune has drawn some questions from strangers, and I’ve never had a problem with answering any questions they have. I’ve been approached many times by people asking, “What is that you’re wearing on your head?” Every time I’m asked that question, I always explain that I have brain cancer and the device on my head is called Optune.

That will usually draw the question, “What is Optune?” I usually describe it like this: it’s designed to emit electrical fields into the brain that disrupt cancer cell division and potentially stop them from growing and dividing. I’d also explain to them what the arrays are and that they need to be changed every few days. Now, I’m very comfortable going out in public wearing my arrays.

What I’ve found is that after I explain what Optune is, I usually get positive comments and well wishes. And, for my family, it’s no longer “what is that?” Now, it’s “how are you doing?”

Dennis_2.jpg

Finding comfort

Optune hasn’t changed who I am or how I communicate with anyone at all. In fact, I like to think it makes me stand out. I think that being asked questions and explaining what Optune is and does is very informative and fulfilling, both for me and the people who are asking.

This story makes me chuckle, so I want to share it: When a new priest started at our church, and he saw me for the first time, he asked what I was wearing. I explained to him what Optune is and what it is designed to do. He was impressed and said it looked like something from Star Trek, which made me laugh. He always asks me how I’m doing, and I really appreciate his interest. It’s comfortable conversations like those that can create lasting relationships, and, not to mention, educate others.
 
Topics: Daily Life with Optune, For Caregivers
By Dennis, Optune patient

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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.