Patient Testimonial – David’s Story

Patient Testimonial – David’s Story

  • April 29, 2024

At age 76, Dr. David Jalen defies the conventional notions of retirement, continuing to practice dentistry. In 2021, he noticed a concerning mass developing on the skin of his right ear, which he brought to the attention of his dermatologist. An initial biopsy confirmed a malignant melanoma, leading to the removal of the mass.

Fast forward two years later, in 2023, Dr. Jalen faced a recurrence with a PET/CT and MRI confirming a mass in the superficial right parotid gland. Parotid glands are the largest salivary glands on both sides of our face in front of our ears.

Dr. Jalen received a referral to a local academic center for a facial-nerve-sparing, right-sided superficial parotidectomy, although a final pathology confirmed a recurrent melanoma. Further discussion with a Melanoma Tumor Board concluded that surgery was not an option due to the complexity of surgery involving crucial tissues, blood vessels, and nerves in the location of the mass. They recommended immunotherapy as the next course of action.

Unfortunately, after four months of treatment, he discovered that the disease had further progressed in the right parotid gland. That’s when Dr. Jalen was referred to Epic Care CyberKnife for a pain-free, non-invasive radiation treatment with pinpoint accuracy. Dr. Jalen received five treatments, providing a radiation dose the equivalent of more than eight weeks of conventional radiation.

“I’m kind of a nerdy type of guy, so watching the machine while I was lying there, move around and ‘zap,’ move around and ‘zap’ and move around again was very intriguing. I don’t recommend it for entertainment, but it is very valuable treatment,” says Dr. Jalen.

He tolerated the treatment exceptionally well – reporting only mild, temporary fatigue. Dr. Jalen did not experience any skin reaction, jaw pain, hearing difficulty, or mouth pain.

Two months after the completion of treatment, he underwent a follow-up PET/CT, which demonstrated a complete response to treatment. Thanks to CyberKnife’s cutting-edge technology, he remains symptom-free and is still practicing dentistry.

“I was amazed at how easy it was. It was a great experience. I would pop in, get treated, and then go to lunch,” says Dr. Jalen, “The Epic Care team was just so good, very professional, kept us informed and super accommodating.”

To anyone facing a similar battle, Dr. Jalen’s story serves as a reminder to never underestimate the strength of resilience and the modern medical advancements, such as CyberKnife.

The information included in this testimonial is based on one patient’s unique experience and is not intended to represent all patient outcomes or expectations.

To learn more about CyberKnife, please visit or call us at (925) 391-2220.

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