Local Cancer Survivor and Entrepreneur Donates $500,000 to Fund UMN Cancer Research Initiative

“Fourteen years ago I was diagnosed with stage 1 testicular cancer,” said Scott Petinga. “Everyone said it was the best kind you can get — since it had a survivor rate of 99 percent. But I wound up with every side effect you could receive.”

Scott Petinga with his wife Alea and three children stand in front of a crowd at the University of Minnesota Health Clinics and Surgery Center where researchers, physicians and community members listen to his decade and a half journey. In the same building, patients and families await oncology appointments, something Scott remembers all too well.

Now through his humanitarian organization called, “TH!NK DIFFERENT Foundation,” Petinga is donating $500,000 to the University of Minnesota for men’s cancer survivorship research.

“This is important to me because there are so many people like me going through this, but you don’t always hear about them” Petinga tells the crowd gathered outside the Masonic Cancer Clinic, where the event was held.

“This is helping us test a hypothesis which has never been tested before,” said Badrinath Konety, MD, MBA, CEO of University of Minnesota Physicians and Vice Dean for Clinical Affairs at the University of Minnesota Medical School. “This ground-breaking and patient-driven approach will open new dimensions of philanthropy which will drive us as researchers towards new discoveries, information and cures.” Dr. Konety, who is also the Director of the Institute for Prostate and Urologic Cancers, was responsible for connecting Petinga with Oncologist Charles Ryan, MD, Associate Director of the Masonic Cancer Center and Director of the Division of Hematology, Oncology and Transplantation at the University of Minnesota Medical School , who will lead the research.

“Several cancers, such as prostate and testicular cancer, present unique challenges that are specific to men. Survivorship research works to address the many challenges as they arise during and after cancer treatment. This gift will be a tremendous accelerator for our efforts to identify and address the physical, mental and emotional health of those being treated for male cancers,” said Dr. Ryan.

Cancer mortality is higher among men than it is among women. It’s estimated that more than 174,000 new cases of prostate cancer, which is the most common cancer in American men, will be diagnosed in 2019 according to the American Cancer Society. Survival rates are improving as new cancer treatments are developed and become more effective.

And now thanks to the grant, UMN researchers are able to dedicate more time and resources to assess the short and long-term impact of men’s cancer treatment.

“We have a very rich history of people looking at cancer survivorship on this campus. I’m excited that with this gift we will be able to bring in experts from many disciplines to tackle this issue of men’s cancer survivorship on a deeper level,” said Ryan, at the gathering to announce the grant. “What we plan to undertake will be extraordinary.”

Dr. Ryan is internationally recognized for his research on prostate cancer. His studies have unraveled the roles of androgens and the androgen receptor in castration-resistant prostate cancer. He authored “The Virility Paradox,” a book that explores the effects of testosterone on our bodies and brains, and forms the basis for many aspects of survivorship research. Dr. Ryan joined the University of Minnesota Medical School in April 2018.

Scott Petinga is a philanthropic serialpreneur who is using his businesses to help solve humanitarian needs. When he’s not busy saving the planet, Petinga disseminates his acquired wisdom, knowledge and experience in his recently released memories “No One Ever Drowned in Sweat: G.R.I.T. - The Stuff of Leaders and Champions” and nationally recognized publications (Forbes, Men’s Health, Thrive Global, New York Times, Playboy, Inc. Esquire, HuffPost and Entrepreneur.) In addition, he’s the founder of two additional 501(c)(3) including the TH!NK DIFFERENT Foundation, The Center for Advocacy for Cancer of the Testes International (CACTI) and the Fairy Foundation. He lives in the Minneapolis metro area with his wife, spoiled dog and is also the father of three pretty amazing daughters.

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