54-year old John Andretti was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer earlier this year after scheduling a colonoscopy on a whim. The former IndyCar and NASCAR driver thought himself to be in a good health so was shocked by the news. But, Andretti refuses to feel sorry for himself. Instead, he is choosing to use his diagnosis to bring awareness to the disease and to encourage people to get a colonoscopy before it’s too late.
Andretti has openly shared his frustration over the fact that he waited so long to be screened for cancer. But, the frustration is over the fact that he could have saved his family the heartache of seeing him battle cancer.
“It’s unfair to them,” he says of his wife and children who are watching him fight this disease. “I’ve said it several times. It’s unfair to them that I’m even in this condition.”
Andretti blames himself for not getting screened earlier in his life. “This could’ve been prevented. Now, for me to go through it, it’s my own fault, because I didn’t get screened soon enough,” Andretti said in a recent interview.
Andretti underwent one surgery earlier this year and just this week underwent another to remove treat other areas where the cancer has spread. The driver took to Twitter Thursday (June 22) to share an update following the surgery.
While the fight looks to be a tough one for Andretti, he’s made it clear that he plans to continue fighting.
Andretti said he was initially diagnosed with Stage 3A colon cancer but in April it evolved to Stage 4A as the cancer spread to his liver and possibly his spleen.
“The worse you can get is Stage 4B, so (my odds) are greatly reduced,” said Andretti. “But I’m still not the worst off I can be. I mean, we’re going to fight it. And we believe we can beat it.”