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Who may benefit from tumor treatment fields?

A new at-home treatment device is now available to people diagnosed with mesothelioma. This device, called Novo TTF-100L, is intended to work alongside chemotherapy to slow, stop or reduce cancer in the body.

Since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the device May 2019, it has been gaining traction around the country. Most recently, the device has been added to the list of available treatments at the Mesothelioma Treatment Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas. Other certified treatment centers include Miami Cancer Institute in Florida, Loyola University Medical Center in Illinois, Ochsner Medical Center in Louisiana, Ochsner Health Center in Louisiana, Oregon Health and Science University in Oregon, and West Cancer Clinic in Tennessee.

How tumor treating fields work

Licensed physicians at these medical facilities can prescribe the device to certain patients. They also train those patients and the patients’ caregivers to safely use the device at home.

The device includes a generator, transducer arrays, connection cables, power supply, carrying bag, battery and battery charger. If your doctor believes this product is a good fit for you, they could have you wear the device daily for up to 18 hours.

After you apply the transducer arrays to your chest with adhesive bandages, the device will deliver alternating electrical fields intended to disrupt the division of cancer cells. These fields are also known as tumor treatment fields. Because the device is battery operated, you can store the batteries a backpack to make it convenient for the device to remain connected to power throughout the day.

Tumor treating fields are not right for everyone

In a clinical study, 57% of study participants had tumor growth stop and 40% of the participants had tumors shrink. As hopeful as this may seem, doctors are only prescribing tumor treating fields in very specific circumstances.

At this time, physicians are only prescribing the product to some people with mesothelioma that cannot be treated surgically. This is because Novo TTF-100L has not been tested yet against a control group of just standard therapy. Tumor treating fields should not be used by those who have pacemakers, implanted automatic defibrillator or sensitivity to conductive hydrogels.

For some individuals diagnosed with mesothelioma, tumor treating fields can be a beneficial part of a treatment plan, but tumor treating fields will probably never be the right treatment approach for everyone. If you have mesothelioma, the best treatment for you will depend on a variety of details specific to your situation, such as the stage and location of your cancer.

If you have been exposed to asbestos but have not been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it may be beneficial to talk to your doctor about your risks. If you do develop mesothelioma, it is best if it can be diagnosed right away because an early diagnosis can allow more treatment options to be available to you.

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