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March 29th, 2023

Our Stories: A real-life superhero 

Cook Medical aims to raise awareness around head and neck cancer and dysphagia through Dale Maloney’s story 

According to the Yale School of Medicine, head and neck cancer affected over 46,000 people last year.1 In addition, a study conducted in 2014 found that approximately 1 in 25 adults will experience a swallowing problem, such as dysphagia, in the United States each year.2 

We know that, often, patients who have been treated by an otolaryngologist and survived their battle with head and neck cancer can suffer from dysphagia as a result of treatment. We wanted to develop a patient story that could highlight both head and neck cancer and dysphagia and be used to help raise awareness of both disease states. 

Dr. Rebecca Howell, an otolaryngologist, introduced us to Dale Maloney. He is a head and neck cancer survivor and now suffers from dysphagia as a result of the radiation that was used to treat his cancer in 1996. 

“Mr. Maloney is a trailblazer,” Dr. Howell said. “He is always asking and challenging, in a wonderful way, how we can do it better, and I’ve learned a tremendous amount from working with him.” 

Cook Medical’s OHNS specialty’s mission is to be the go-to source for minimally invasive in-office procedures. In 2021, they launched the Hercules 100 Transnasal Esophageal Balloon, which is the first of its kind indicated for in-office use. This means that the patients can undergo the procedure under local anesthetic.  

By moving this procedure into the office, the patient has fewer restrictions placed on them, and they can often get treatment much quicker than they could if they had to be scheduled into the operating room (OR). This creates less financial impact on the healthcare system and can free up OR time for other high-priority procedures.  

“Meeting with Dale was the most rewarding part. We could see first-hand how Dale felt about moving his procedure from an OR to an office and how positive this has been for his management of dysphagia and quality of life,” Edel said. 

“God makes each day for us to take and do the best we can, and I try to live that way and I’m very happy with my life,” Dale said. “I couldn’t be more blessed.” 

To learn more about Dale’s story, watch the video below. Dale passed away in early 2023, but we are glad to share his legacy. 





  1. Doerr A. Head and neck cancer: five things you need to know. Yale School of Medicine Web site. Published on April 6, 2021.
  1. Bhattacharyya N. The prevalence of dysphagia among adults in the United States. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2014;151(5):765–769. doi: 10.1177/0194599814549156. Epub 2014 Sep 5. PMID: 25193514.