Starting at the Top: My Best Tips for Healthy Skin Hygiene During GBM Treatment with Optune®

Hi friends! At first, maintaining a healthy scalp took quite a bit of trial and error for me. I hope some of these tips & tricks, that have worked well for me, will aid you in maintaining a healthy noggin. Of course, you should work with your healthcare provider to manage any skin irritation issues you might have.
  

Array change time

My wife, Beth-Ann, and I researched what worked well for other Optune users regarding how to avoid and treat skin irritation—then we cleared everything with my doctor prior to use. Here are the steps we have worked out for array changes:
  1. Beth-Ann gives me a close shave, going in multiple directions, with the Pitbull electric shaver provided by nCompass,™ Novocure’s support program.
  2. After shaving, I immediately shower & wash my head with a gentle unscented product to ensure all of the hair trimmings are washed away.
  3. It’s recommended that people run a gauze pad moistened with 70 percent isopropyl across their scalp.
  4. We talked to my doctor about recommendations from other Optune users and my doctor approved my use of additional things to help my scalp. My doctor, Beth-Ann, and I found a few products that are the best options for me but remember this is just my experience. Talk with your doctor about what might be right for you.
  5. Beth-Ann cuts triangles in-between the array disks. Slits are cut around the array edges. These allow the arrays to conform to my scalp. She makes sure to shift the arrays away from the last place they were on my skin.
  6. Triangles cut from the arrays are placed under the connection point where the cord meets the arrays. For me, this reduces friction irritation.
  7. We position the cords so they may be pulled above my head while I sleep. I found that it irritated my skin to sleep on the cords.
  8. We use the recommended medical tape to connect my arrays. This stronger tape does not contact my scalp. This tape is also used to wrap around the cords every 6” or so, to keep the cord placement consistent.

In between array changes

We worked to find solutions to irritation that my doctor approved. That has made a huge difference in my scalp health.
  • My doctor prescribed a corticosteroid treatment that we apply to areas of irritation. We also apply it twice to my entire scalp during breaks per my doctor’s recommendation. Typically, I take a six-hour break every three to four days.
  • Giving my scalp time to breathe also helps. During breaks I try not to wear hats.
  • My wife keeps a close eye on any small white scalp pimples, to keep them becoming larger sores.
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Keeping it cool!

  • We take care to keep the arrays in tight contact with my scalp. Loose arrays may cause scalp irritation.
  • Throughout the week, we use array trim pieces to secure any loose edges.
  • If the arrays start to lift up, we use tape to keep them down. I put it on over the arrays and up the cord. My cords are gathered like a ponytail.
  • At night, a fan and cooling pillow keeps my scalp comfortable.
  • We rearranged our deck to ensure I have shade at all times of the day.
  • To protect my scalp from overheating in the sun I typically wear a fishing “gaiter,” which is a long tube of breathable stretchy athletic fabric.
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Scalp health is multifaceted & unique for each Optune user. But I hope some of these tips aid in keeping your scalp healthy! Of course, you should consult with your doctor about how best to manage scalp irritation issues. Be well & take care.
 
Topics: Daily Life with Optune
By Brendan O., 47, Mankato, MN

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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.