Summer 2019

Survive, then thrive

Courtesy of Scott Petinga

Scott Petinga was cured, but he wasn’t healed.

In 2004, Petinga was 31 and living outside Philadelphia when he was treated for testicular cancer—a grueling regimen that included surgery and 10 rounds of radiation. His treatment was successful, and the cancer disappeared.

Petinga’s doctors told him he was OK. “But I knew I wasn’t,” he says. 

For years afterward, Petinga, who moved to the Twin Cities after his treatment, felt exhausted. Muscle weakness and memory loss affected him daily. He researched his symptoms and began to suspect his intense treatment may have severely affected his testosterone production— a hypothesis that proved to be correct.

Relieved to understand the reason for his lingering side effects, Petinga was determined to help other cancer survivors navigate life after treatment. That led him to Charles Ryan, a physician-scientist interested in understanding the effects of treatment on cancer survivors and the B.J. Kennedy Chair in Clinical Medical Oncology at the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota. 

A successful entrepreneur, Petinga donated $500,000 in early 2019 to accelerate research into the short- and long-term effects of cancer treatment.  

“I hope my story can help minimize the severity of treatment for others and reduce their long-term side effects,” he says. “I hope that my being an advocate for survivors will allow them to live better lives.”