Finding out that you or a loved one has glioblastoma, or GBM, can be overwhelming. In the blink of an eye, you may feel that your life is turned upside down, and you have to make major treatment decisions. So, where do you start?
Now is the time to speak to your doctor about the treatments available to you. Things to ask your doctor at this time include:
What are the treatment options in newly diagnosed GBM?
What are the expected results of these treatments?
What are the possible side effects?
Can this treatment be given close to home, or will I need to travel or relocate for a while?
What impact will treatment have on my ability to work or do normal activities?
By talking to your doctor and doing research on your own, you may learn that a diagnosis and treatment plan for newly diagnosed GBM can include:
Surgery may be conducted first to remove as much of the tumor as possible and/or to take a sample of the tumor to make a diagnosis of the tumor type. Sometimes, people need to be awake for surgery so that surgeons can ask questions that help them protect important parts of the brain
During this time, your doctor may also test the tumor for tumor markers. Tumor markers may indicate what treatments may work better for you
Radiation may be used after surgery. A big machine is used to aim beams of high-energy X-rays, gamma rays, or protons at your head in order to kill the tumor cells inside. This outpatient treatment is usually done over the course of several weeks at a hospital or clinic
Chemotherapy refers to drugs that are used to kill cancer cells. You might be given chemotherapy in the form of a pill, an IV in the outpatient part of a hospital, or in a dissolving wafer that a surgeon implants in your brain
Tumor Treating Fields (TTFields), used together with the chemotherapy temozolomide (TMZ), are low-intensity electric fields that may slow or stop cancer cells from multiplying, and may cause them to die. TTFields are delivered through a wearable, portable, FDA-approved device called Optune
1. National Cancer Institute. What you need to know about brain tumors. http://www.cancer.gov/publications/patient-education/brain.pdf. Published February 2009. Accessed August 25, 2015. NIH Publication No. 09-1558.
2. Tumor Marker Tests. http://www.cancer.net/navigating-cancer-care/diagnosing-cancer/tests-and-procedures/tumor-marker-tests. Published March 2013. Accessed August 25, 2015.
3. Optune Instructions For Use. Novocure 2016.
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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.
If you have newly diagnosed GBM, Optune is used together with a chemotherapy called temozolomide (TMZ) if:
If your tumor has come back, Optune can be used alone as an alternative to standard medical therapy if:
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.
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.
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.
Patient Journey videos on this site and all images labeled as Optune users or caregivers depict actual patients and caregivers. All other depictions of patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals are actor portrayals.
Optune is intended as a treatment for adult patients (22 years of age or older) with histologically-confirmed glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).