Optune® and scalp care
By Kimberly, Optune Patient Ambassador • 3 min read
Finding a Skincare Routine that Works for You
As an Optune patient, I know that skincare can be challenging at times, especially when it comes to keeping the skin on your scalp healthy. Through trial and error, and the help of my doctor to refine my skincare, I’ve discovered a few tricks in my routine. Of course, I recommend talking to your doctor if you run into any issues with your scalp care. Your doctor can recommend the best routine for you based on your personal needs and type of skin.
Preparing the Skin
Preparing my head before applying the arrays is the most important step in my scalp care routine because it helps prevent irritation. After shaving and shampooing, I apply a skin prep or skin barrier to my scalp. This can be purchased over the counter.
I've found this step to be particularly useful in helping to prevent ulcers. Skin barriers can not only protect the scalp but also help the arrays adhere to the skin. This is also particularly helpful when the weather is hot or humid so the arrays stay in place no matter how much I may sweat.
In the event that I do get an ulcer, my doctor usually prescribes a medicated cream. I would always check with my doctor before applying anything not prescribed.
My husband, Cecil, has become very good at cutting small pieces out of the array patches that will allow the ulcer to be open to the air. This also allows me to apply medicine to the ulcer and let it heal. Sometimes my husband may slightly move the position of an array patch to miss an ulcer, but we always check with my doctor before doing this. You should talk to your doctor before making any changes in your routine.
Additional Tips and Tricks
Another thing that I have found helpful is to leave my arrays on continuously for four days, and then I take them off for 12 to 24 hours, with my doctor’s guidance. This gives me a break and allows my skin to breathe.
Lastly, I always keep my head covered unless I am indoors. I usually wear baseball caps or bandanas in the summer. In the winter, I wear stocking caps of various thicknesses depending on how cold it is. Once, I made the mistake of going outside without a hat when my arrays were off. I ended up getting a sunburn over my tumor/radiation site. Since then, I am very cautious about keeping my head covered.
If you do experience skin irritation, then be sure to consult your doctor.
I hope I've shared something useful. Sometimes skincare is challenging, especially when you’re at the beginning of your journey, and you may figure different things out over time with trial and error. Persistence is the key. Don't give up.
For additional resources and support, visit Optune.com/buddy-call or Optune.com/events.
Important Safety Information
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:
- Your cancer is confirmed by your healthcare professional AND
- You have had surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible
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
Who should not use Optune?
Optune is not for everyone. Talk to your doctor if you have:
- An implanted medical device (programmable shunt), skull defect (missing bone with no replacement), or bullet fragment. Optune has not been tested in people with implanted electronic devices, which may cause the devices not to work properly, and Optune has not been tested in people with skull defects or bullet fragments, which may cause Optune not to work properly
- A known sensitivity to conductive hydrogels (the gel on the arrays placed on the scalp like the ones used on EKGs). When Optune comes into contact with the skin, it may cause more redness and itching or may rarely cause a life-threatening allergic reaction
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.
- Do not use any parts that did not come with the Optune Treatment Kit sent to you by Novocure or given to you by your doctor
- Do not get the device or transducer arrays wet
- If you have an underlying serious skin condition on the scalp, discuss with your doctor whether this may prevent or temporarily interfere with Optune treatment
What are the possible side effects of Optune?
The 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 for 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.