Starting Optune®: Meeting the New Lynn

Let’s talk…hair

“I’ll have to do what?!”

That was my first reaction when I learned that I’d have to shave my head to use Optune.
Before then, I always believed that my hair defined me. At the age of 67, when I was diagnosed, I was still a natural redhead with long, thick locks that I was very proud of. While my friends were spending time and money dying their gray hair, I spent many hours and lots of money having my hair blown out and chemically straightened. Even strangers used to stop me to compliment me on my hair. To my friends and family I was “the redhead.”

So who would I be without my hair?

On my way into surgery, I even asked the surgeon to be careful not to mess up my hair! And as I was wheeled past my daughter on the way into the OR, she reminded the surgeon – “Don’t get her hair wet. It’ll frizz!”

Luckily, I emerged from surgery with only a tiny incision above my right ear and my hair totally intact. Not a hair out of place.

Lynn_Haircut.jpeg

A new kind of party

Back then, I hadn’t heard of Optune.

But once I started seeing my oncologist, I soon learned about Optune. I decided that my health had to be more important than my hair. So, I chose to try Optune, and at a friend’s suggestion, I held a head-shaving party. I invited some of my closest girlfriends to witness the event.

Many came to my home and a few others watched over video. A hairstylist friend of mine did the shaving and a female rabbi from my synagogue said a prayer for healing. She asked my friends to place their hands on me and tell me what they wished for me. It was quite an emotional day. My hair was first cut off at the roots and rubber banded so that I could donate it in hopes that someone else could use it for a wig someday. Then the
shaving began and finally, we took photos of the new me!

Since that day, I’ve learned that my hair most certainly does not define me.

In fact, hair is totally overrated.

I still have my quirky, redhead personality, and everyone still knows who I am!
  

Optune - in style

Now, I wear the prettiest head coverings and scarves I can find (at shops or online) and a few hats to protect my head from the hot sun. I seem to have something to match each and every outfit. And, I always keep a rain hat handy if rain is in the forecast.

I have also purchased several backpacks in different colors and designs to carry Optune. I try to match those to my clothes, too. Sometimes, people don’t even realize I’m using a device! So I’d say that I’ve more than accepted my look. I’ve embraced it.

Yes, I have GBM, but that doesn’t mean I’m fighting or struggling in some way. I’m along for this journey, and if that means no more hair, so be it. With or without it, I’m still me: a fiery, quirky redhead with great taste in headwear.
Topics: Daily Life with Optune
By Lynn O., 71, Elkins Park ,PA

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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.