Cancer Moonshot Initiative – A Marine with Leukemia Shares His Story

On May 4, 2022 the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) hosted the Department of Defense Cancer Moonshot Roundtable, “A Conversation on Cancer Health Equity and Military-relevant Environmental Exposures,” as part of a day-long series of agency events sponsored by the White House Cancer Moonshot initiative.

Sgt. Michael Christian, U.S. Marine, talks about his experience of being diagnosed with B-Cell Leukemia while deployed in Saudi Arabia.


I went to Dr google and did some research over like who normally gets diagnosed with my specific type of cancer and it’s usually kids below the age of nine and predominantly Caucasian with me having like this weird diagnosis. I fall in the pediatrics team. So I’m around a bunch of kids and all my doctors are pediatric oncologist. So I spent most of my day on play dates with the kids and the Clinic because I’m like a 25 year old and they’re like four running around. Mhm. Okay. I am one of many D. O. D. Cancer survivors. I was diagnosed in Saudi Arabia while forward deployed, got admitted to hospital while in Saudi Arabia where I was diagnosed with T cell leukemia. The Air Force basically designated a whole aircraft to me to basically fly me from out of Saudi Arabia to Walter Reed Medical Center where I received following care and treatment being in the military. I think my cancer was caught at the early stage it could be caught. I was healthy before I went and in the span of a month I felt a little bit sick I was diagnosed and the treatment within within the couple I would argue. Even days of the the day they found out that I wasn’t feeling well I was getting treated my current journey I guess I’ve been trying to open myself up to research team so they can you know get the research they need for my cancer and kind of help the future people who get diagnosed with the disease because I wouldn’t be where I am and what people before me. And it’s definitely unusual for someone like me to have it, which is more so why, like all these research teams are like trying to, you know, figure out what environmental things have been done to potentially give me the cancer. There’s a little girl. But I play with that clinic all day. And I think, you know, like if I deny research seems the ability to access my information and do research, you know, I am essentially, you know, risking that little girl’s life because now she doesn’t have the research that she needs to get the treatment she needs.

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