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

Frequently asked questions

Considering Optune®

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A large clinical study showed that Optune should be worn for at least 75% of the time (18 hours per day) to get the best response from treatment.

When you begin treatment with Optune, work with your doctor to make your own individualized plan about how long you should stay on Optune. After starting Optune, it may take time to see whether it is working. You and your doctor can review how Optune is working against your tumor and fitting into your lifestyle to determine the best path forward. It is important to note that ongoing and continued use of Optune will provide the best chance for ongoing benefits as seen in the clinical study of newly diagnosed GBM patients.

As long as the device and TTFields are turned on, therapy is being delivered. Optune records the amount of time that therapy is delivered per day. Your healthcare team will receive a monthly usage report to monitor your treatment goals.

If your current healthcare provider is not a certified Optune doctor, it is possible to have your care coordinated with another center.

Yes. Optune is a wearable, portable, FDA-approved device indicated to treat a type of brain cancer called glioblastoma muliforme (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 your cancer is confirmed by your healthcare professional and you have had surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible.

Recurrent GBM

If your tumor has come back, Optune can be used alone as an alternative to standard medical therapy if you have tried surgery and radiation and they did not work or are no longer working and you have tried chemotherapy and your GBM has been confirmed by your healthcare professional.

Please ask your doctor before engaging in physical activity to ensure that it is safe for you and appropriate while using Optune.

More frequent array changes may be needed if you’ve performed a physical activity that causes you to sweat more.

It’s important that you keep the device and arrays from getting wet.

If you would like to see how others have exercised while on Optune, click here to hear from other users.

Optune was not tested in pregnant women. Do not use Optune if you are pregnant, think you might be pregnant, or are trying to get pregnant.

Women who are able to get pregnant must use birth control when using the device. It is unknown what side effects the device may cause to a pregnant woman. For more information, please consult your doctor.

The nCompass team has helped many patients and caregivers—in a range of financial situations—start treatment with Optune.

They will work with your insurance plan and identify resources to help minimize your cost for Optune, regardless of your financial situation. To get in touch with nCompass, call 1-855-281-9301 (toll-free).

Transducer arrays need to be applied directly to your shaved scalp to work properly. Even a small amount of hair growth can prevent the arrays from making good contact with your scalp.

You will need to shave your head and change the arrays at least 2 times a week (or every 4 days at most).

Loose-knit wigs, hats, and head coverings may be worn over the arrays.

Using Optune

Loose-knit wigs, hats, and other head coverings may be worn over the arrays. Visit Daily life with Optune where you can find a number of head coverings and cooling pillows offered by various suppliers.

Please note that Novocure does not recommend or endorse the use of any specific product from any supplier.

Some warming sensation can be expected while using Optune.

Most people get used to this quickly. If you are especially uncomfortable or experience a rash, sores, or skin ulcers on your scalp, contact your doctor.

As with any treatment, if you notice any change in your health, please contact your doctor immediately.

Optune has an internal fan that helps it from overheating. The carrying bag that comes with the device has been designed to allow for proper airflow. We recommend that you use one of the bags provided by Novocure.

Yes. Optune has been designed to not interfere with other electronic devices according to international standards. In testing and in real-world use, there have been no problems reported with the use of mobile devices while on treatment.

Using a car adapter is not recommended. Please only use those items that were provided to you by Novocure. Optune is portable and battery operated, but it is not designed to be plugged into a car charger.

Remember, if you plan to be out for more than 2 hours, carry an extra battery or the power supply with you, in case the current battery runs out.

While Optune will not interfere with a person’s ability to drive, consult with your doctor regarding your ability to drive a car.

If you’ve been given permission to drive, it is best not to place your device on the floor of the driver’s seat by your feet.

Yes. If your doctor tells you it is okay, travel may be possible with Optune.

To help prevent unnecessary stress and treatment disruption, nCompass is available to support you before and during your travel.

Once you have discussed with your doctor, contact nCompass toll-free at 1-855-281-9301, at least 1 week before your flight. They can help you coordinate your travel and ensure that you will have the supplies and any travel documentation related to Optune that you may need.

Click here to download the Travel Support by nCompass brochure that has more information on how to prepare for traveling while using Optune.

Yes. If your doctor tells you it is okay, travel may be possible with Optune.

To help prevent unnecessary stress and treatment disruption, nCompass is available to support you before and during your travel.

Once your doctor has approved of your plans, contact nCompass toll-free at 1-855-281-9301 at least 4 weeks prior to your planned departure to make sure Optune is supported in the country you wish to visit.

  • Travel support is not available in all international countries and it is dependent on the approval status of Optune in your destination country.
  • Call nCompass for a complete list of countries where Optune is currently supported.

Be aware that the device and transducer arrays will set off airport screening devices, and there are restrictions for transporting lithium-ion batteries (like the ones used with Optune) in checked luggage.

You can also call the Transportation Security Administration’s TSA Cares help line toll free at 1-855-787-2227 to ask about procedures.

Click here to download the Travel Support by nCompass brochure that has more information on how to prepare for traveling while using Optune.

Getting the transducer arrays wet can cause the patches to come loose and interfere with contact to the scalp. If this happens, the alarm may sound and the device may turn off. Any time the transducer arrays become wet or loosen, they should be changed.

To prevent the transducer arrays from getting wet, cover them with a shower cap when bathing or showering, and leave the device outside of the bathroom. In rainy weather you can use a hat or an umbrella.

Transducer arrays should be changed at least 2 times per week (every 4 days at most), depending upon factors like how quickly your hair grows or how much you sweat. As your hair grows, it prevents the transducer arrays from making good contact with your scalp.

For all x-rays, CT scans, and MRIs the device should always be turned off and the arrays should be disconnected from the connection cable box just as you would do when taking a shower. The device should then be left outside of the procedure room.

Whether or not you also need to remove the arrays depends on what type of test is being performed and on what part of your body. You should speak with your doctor if you are uncertain. If your doctor has questions, they can call nCompass at 1-855-281-9301.

Do not attempt to repair the equipment. If you attempt to open the device, you could cause damage or receive an electric shock. All technical service must be performed by qualified, trained personnel. If your device gets damaged or if you need technical support, call nCompass toll free at
1-855-281-9301.

Troubleshooting tips

Do you have questions about Optune or need help troubleshooting? nCompass can help. Call 1-855-281-9301 (toll-free) to speak with someone from the nCompass team or email support@novocure.com.

Browse this list for possible solutions to some common questions.

Possible reasons:

  • Battery drained
  • Battery malfunction
  • Charger malfunction
  • Device malfunction

What to try:

  1. Replace battery with a fully charged battery
  2. If the device still doesn't come on, turn the power off and call technical support at 1-855-281-9301 (toll-free)

Possible reasons:

  • Too much force applied to cables
  • Device malfunction

What to try:

  1. Reconnect the cable to its corresponding socket
  2. If the problem is not fixed, press the Tumor Treating Fields (TTFields) button to stop therapy and turn power off
  3. Call technical support at 1-855-281-9301 (toll-free)

What to do:

  1. Press TTFields button to stop therapy
  2. Turn power off
  3. Call technical support at 1-855-281-9301 (toll-free) for further instructions

Possible reasons:

  • Low battery
  • Loose or disconnected cable
  • Blocked vents on the sides of the device
  • Local trapping of heat under a transducer array (from lying on a pillow, for example)
  • Poor transducer array contact, possibly due to hair growth or sweating
  • Device malfunction
  • Device power turned on but the TTFields therapy has not been activated

What to try: If the low battery light is on:

  1. Replace the battery as described in the Patient Information and Operation Manual
  2. Turn on treatment

What to try: If the error light is lit but the low battery light is not:

  1. Press the TTFields button to stop the alarm
  2. Turn off the power
  3. Check all plugs to make sure nothing is loose
  4. Check vents on device to make sure they are not blocked
  5. If lying down, move your head
  6. Make sure transducer arrays are well adhered, adding tape if needed
  7. If a few days have passed since you last replaced your transducer arrays, replace the arrays according to the instructions in the Patient Information and Operation Manual
  8. Restart treatment
  9. If alarm keeps going, turn off the device and call technical support at 1-855-281-9301 (toll-free)

Possible reasons:

  • Charger malfunction
  • Battery malfunction
  • Device malfunction

What to try:

  1. Replace battery with another fully charged battery
  2. If the problem is not fixed, call technical support at 1-855-281-9301 (toll-free)
References:
  1. Optune Patient Information and Operation Manual. Novocure 2017.
  2. Optune [Instructions for Use]. Novocure 2016.

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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:

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.

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.