Treatment for glioblastoma (GBM)
Intended for US audiences only.

JB's story

I consider my life to be a charmed life. Well, that’s not entirely true. It’s been a happy, fulfilling life, just with its fair share of strife and shortcomings. But attitude is everything. I find if I meet every challenge with a positive attitude, the journey and the end result seem to turn out for the better. Now, I will assert, I’m not a strong person by any capacity. However, everyone around me has been exceedingly strong on my behalf, especially during tough times. None has been stronger than my brother, Josh, who has been with me every step of the way.

Hear from young Optune® users like JB about brain cancer treatment.

However, everyone around me has been exceedingly strong on my behalf, especially during tough times. None has been stronger than my brother, Josh, who has been with me every step of the way.I was living a happy-go-lucky lifestyle of poker and volleyball in Fort Lauderdale, Florida—sandcastles by day, chip castles by night. Suddenly, I started feeling symptoms of unknown cause: The absolute worst head and neck pain with bouts of nausea. I thought I could tough it out, but my condition worsened, and the symptoms persisted. The initial emergency room visit answered nothing. They didn’t see anything in the CT scan. Doctors investigated further, but to no avail—the leading theory being a pinched nerve, or perhaps I was faking. One way or another, it was all in my head.

We never stopped trying to find answers. After a grueling couple of months for everyone, a close family friend made sure I was admitted to the hospital for testing. She could tell my condition wasn’t a joke. Within 48 hours of being admitted to the hospital, I was recovering from brain surgery. So I’m living on borrowed time, but I think that in the most awesme way possible. Life is a gift.

Following my diagnosis of glioblastoma and hearing the subsequent prognosis, I was in a bit of shock. My life was flipped like a pineapple upside-down cake. Lucky for me, I love pineapple, so I made the decision to fight back. Following surgery, I relearned the basics: walking, feeding myself, and dressing myself—very much like a toddler.

Early on in my cancer treatment, which involved radiation and chemotherapy, my doctor introduced to me the idea of another treatment called Optune®. As I recall, I was initially concerned because I didn’t fully understand what it would be like, but I overcame my fears by educating myself about it. I went on and read the literature that my doctors and nurses gave me.

As I listened to my doctor’s recommendation, I also weighed my brother’s thoughts and spoke to someone at Novocure. Afterwards, I felt more optimistic that I could try it. With the knowledge that there is no cure for glioblastoma, and it’s difficult to treat, it only made sense for me to employ a multipronged attack in my fight. I was on board. When the time came, I was given the green light to start treatment.

My day-to-day life continued on. I’ve been trying to wear Optune about 21 hours a day with some minor alterations. Yes, it felt somewhat cumbersome at first, but in a matter of a few weeks, I was at ease toting the backpack and adjusting to a couple of restrictions. Avoiding the inevitable heat of the Florida sun was a must.

I think I should also mention that after getting my doctor’s permission, there have been times when I’ve taken a short break from Optune, like for a special occasion when I go to the beach or botanical garden. I take precautions, though. When I’m at the beach, I leave my device at home if I’m planning on going in the water, and I wear a hat to help protect my head from the sun and heat.

Personally, I’m delighted to respond to people on the rare occasion when a stranger inquires about Optune. I find an open and honest discussion about my condition and the treatment is welcomed by listeners and therapeutic for me.

I want to let everyone know I’ve been feeling good. I experience the inherent ups and downs that come with life, but I have no real complaints. If you are in a similar fight, just know you don’t have to do it alone. There are support groups out there, and you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help. If you’re having a bad day, find an outlet that works for you.

To paraphrase a thought, “When you can’t walk, you crawl. When you can no longer crawl, you find someone to carry you.” My brother has carried me through this. My friends and family have carried me through this. I’m fortunate to have a great team supporting me. Come to think of it, okay, yes, I really have had a charmed life.

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:

Who should not use Optune?

Optune is not for everyone. Talk to your doctor if you have:

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

What should I know before using Optune?

Optune 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.

What are the possible side effects of Optune?

Most common side effects of Optune when used together with chemotherapy (temozolomide, or TMZ) were low blood platelet count, nausea, constipation, vomiting, tiredness, scalp irritation from the device, headache, seizure, and depression.

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

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

Please click here to see the Optune Instructions for Use (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.