Wear a Wig with Optune by Novocure
Optune by Novocure is a wearable device worn on the head. It is used to inhibit tumor growth in patients diagnosed with glioblastoma. You can wear a wig over the device without doing any damage or interrupting the mechanisms of the unit.
What is Optune and How Does It Work?
The medical device. also known as NovoTTF-100A, is used to treat some forms of brain tumors, such as glioblastoma (GBM) and anaplastic astrocytoma. Only medical professional can determine if an Optune is right for you.
Now, you may be wondering how this works. The Optune uses arrays of electrodes that are positioned on a freshly shaved scalp to produce low-intensity, alternating electric fields to the brain. These electric fields are designed to inhibit or reduce the growth of tumors by interfering with the division of cancer cells. It can even kill existing cancer cells.
The electric fields function by obstructing the process of cell division. In contrast to healthy cells, cancer cells divide more quickly, and these electric fields are created to impede cell division. Only patients who have had their tumor, or most of it, removed can wear this device. It is often used in conjunction with chemotherapy called temozolomide (TMZ). It must be worn on a clean shaved head. If hair gets in the way the electric fields will not penetrate the scalp.
How to Use the Device
Wondering how to use the device? It consists of 4 arrays of electrodes that attach to the head with adhesive similar to a band aid. To use the device a battery pack worn in a bag similar to a purse. These power the arrays though a series of connective wires which are secured into a bundle. The wires, once hidden under a custom wig for cancer patients, is typically not visible. The arrays often do come down onto the forehead area but if worn with a cancer wig, particularly with bangs, it can be completely hidden.
Is Optune Comfortable to Wear?
Most users report that wearing Optune is comfortable to wear. Part of the treatment involves using arrays in alternating patterns. This makes sure that the entire brain is getting treated by the electric fields. In turn, it also helps with comfort for the wearer by placing adhesive on different parts of the head. Typically, it is worn throughout most of the day. Wearers are allowed with brief interruptions for tasks such as bathing. Your medical professional can counsel you as to how many hours of wear per day are necessary.
Jailene’s Experience Wearing Optune with a Cancer Wig
The following is an interview with Jailene, a cancer fighter who wears both an Optune device as well as a Chrysalis custom wig for cancer over it. Her custom human hair wig was purchased in early July of 2022. The following interview was conducted on September 15, 2022. We thank Jailene and her mom for allowing Chrysalis to use the interview for the purposes of educating more people about the use of the device worn with a cancer wig.
Jailene: I was diagnosed in early 2022 at age 24 with an aggressive type of brain cancer called glioblastoma (GBM). I am being treated with chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. My doctors are amazing! They got 95% of the tumor when the hope was to get at least 75%.
Mom: With the chemo and radiation she has no tumor. She goes for an MRI every 3 months and for the last 2 scans there is no tumor. That’s when she started the Optune. I wanted her to have her wig ready. I want her to feel confident. Her hair is a big thing. I’ve seen her go through the process and one of the most difficult times for her was shaving her head.
She’s really happy with the wig. She donated her hair to Wigs for Kids as soon as she picked it up.
Jailene: They said you can shave your or just don’t do it. I didn’t want to shave because of that insecurity for me. I’ve always had long hair… so to not have any hair? I never even want to cut it below my shoulders. When you think of someone without hair – it becomes a disability that’s visible. It knocked me down a few notches. It was like ok it’s happening. It’s here. I have to deal with it. So having a wig, I can hide it a little. I have hair- I mean technically it IS MY HAIR. I got comfortable with it and it made me feel a little better. When didn’t have the wig on I felt like all eyes were on me. I caught someone staring dead at me. It’s like STOP STARING AND JUST ASK!
It’s easier to just ask me than you just sit there and look at me. Then I feel more nervous.
Interviewer: Is it uncomfortable? Is it hot to wear the Optune with a wig for cancer patients?
Jailene: It feels fine. It’s just stickers!
When I am outside with the Optune my head starts to sweat. It sets off an alarm and shuts off the unit. One day it was hot but I wore the wig. The wig covered the arrays and pushed down on the arrays. The alarm didn’t go off all day! The wig kept it from overheating and the sticky parts didn’t lift. The wig kept the Optune cool so it didn’t shut off.
I have had a pretty normal summer (2022) I went to Bad Bunny, Daddy Yankee, swimming, the Wisconsin dells with my boyfriend.
Even the smallest things matter to me – just making memories.
A Note from Chrysalis Custom Hair
Chrysalis Custom Hair is grateful to Jailene and her family for sharing their story with us. We have created many wigs for women wearing this device. If you have questions or need more information, please contact us.