Using Optune on My Own

Making the decision to try Optune

Before starting Optune, I had concerns and fears.

For starters, I didn’t want to shave my head!

But when I researched Optune, I talked to my doctors, friends, and family about the pros and cons of this treatment, and I understood the prognosis of glioblastoma with and without Optune. In the end, I decided that Optune was more important than my hair.


Managing Optune

As a single mom, I am the only adult living in my house—and also my own caregiver! I do everything involving Optune by myself.

So far, it hasn’t been too hard on me. I’ve learned a few tips and tricks, like making sure to pay attention when my supplies of arrays are down, or how to troubleshoot when I hear a strange beep.

But when it comes to the problems I cannot solve myself, such as irritated skin or insurance, I communicate with my doctor or the nCompass® team. The nCompass team answers all of my calls and is very helpful 365 days a year, 24/7. I know they’re available at any hour because I have called them in the middle of the night when I couldn’t figure out why my Optune was beeping. They knew, helped me fix it, and I went back to sleep peacefully.
  

Changing arrays—by myself!

I invited my mother over for the initial training with an nCompass Device Support Specialist (DSS). At first, I planned my array changes so that my mom could help, but I later taught my 12-year-old daughter to help as well. When it became more difficult to plan my array changes around an available helper’s schedule, I decided to teach myself how to change them. With a secondary mirror and practice, I now regularly change my own arrays!
   
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Staying connected

I spend a lot of my time at home due to GBM, so making time for socializing with friends and family is critical for my mental health. I have been as creative as possible this past year and even planned my own birthday party via Zoom. I got to virtually chat with a good group of my friends, and we played a rousing game of charades, too!
      

My personal backup plan

Some days I feel great, but, of course, there are the bad days. Because of these, I always create a backup plan for myself. When I can’t do it alone, I check in with friends and family who might be available to help. I ask, “Who can drive me to my appointment?” Or, “Who can help me with my array changes?” There is a sense of
comfort in having a backup plan and it gives me peace of mind.
       

Accepting help, asking for help

It takes a lot of energy to care for yourself as a GBM patient with Optune, chemotherapy, fatigue, and so much more. I learned that it is okay to accept help if someone offers it, and when I need help, I know it’s okay to ask for it.

There is no weakness in asking for and accepting help. I have found solace in accepting help because it strengthens my relationships and makes me feel loved!
      
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Topics: Daily Life with Optune
By Barbara G., 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.