DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE - CONGRESSIONALLY DIRECTED MEDICAL RESEARCH PROGRAMS

Colonel Michael Sterling

Colonel Michael Sterling (Ret.) was a career Air Force Intelligence Officer. In 2001, following routine screening with his doctor, he learned that his prostate specific antigen (PSA) score was 4.8. Although that score wasn’t exceptionally high, his doctor was cautious and referred him to a urologist. After a biopsy, he ultimately received a prostate cancer diagnosis. At the time, Col Sterling did not know very much about prostate cancer and had no close family members who had had it. His initial reaction after the diagnosis was “it can kill me, so let's cut the darn thing out as soon as possible” and he chose to proceed with a radical prostatectomy. He was fortunate to not experience side effects from the surgery. 

Like many men, after Col Sterling finished his treatment he just wanted to put the cancer behind him and move on with his life. However, four years later his PSA score began to rise, indicating that even though his prostate had been removed, there were still cancer cells present and they were growing. After four months of hormone therapy along with 30 sessions of external beam radiation, Col Sterling has been cancer free ever since. While going through treatment of his cancer recurrence, he got involved with Us TOO International – a group that provides education and support to men diagnosed with prostate cancer. After receiving support through Us TOO and with all of the knowledge he had gained about prostate cancer, he became an Us TOO advocate to help educate and support other men and their caregivers facing prostate cancer. He is now a member of the Board of Directors for the large Us TOO chapter in Houston and as part of his role, brings in doctors and researchers to speak about prostate cancer at his chapter’s monthly meetings.

Through his involvement with Us TOO, Col Sterling was nominated to be a consumer reviewer for the prostate cancer research program. Over the years, he has served on ten panels to evaluate the potential impact of prostate cancer research applications. Throughout this process, he was amazed at the knowledge and professionalism of the scientific and medical panel members who evaluate the research applications. By drawing on his own personal experience and contributing knowledge from his involvement with other prostate cancer patients he is hopeful that his involvement on the peer review panels helped to identify and fund the best research for men dealing with prostate cancer. 

Last updated Friday, September 18, 2020