John Andretti

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John Andretti begins new round of chemotherapy treatment

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John Andretti has started another round of chemotherapy.

The former NASCAR and IndyCar driver used Twitter on Monday to provide an update on his fight against colon cancer: “Same cocktail with an added twist. Only 3 months to go.”

The 54-year-old Andretti made his diagnosis public in early May and has relied on social media to keep fans abreast of his condition.

In late June, he Tweeted that doctors found that his spleen and gall bladder were cancer free. Andretti continues to encourage others to get preventative screenings.

Andretti started 49 consecutive IndyCar races from 1990-92 before moving to NASCAR, where he made 29 or more starts every year from 1994-2003. He was the first driver to attempt the Memorial Day double.

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John Andretti fights cancer and his message is on full display

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) John Andretti can’t shake the sound from his head. The haunting sound of a machine pumping toxic chemicals into his system as part of chemotherapy.

“I wake up in the middle of the night and I sit and listen to this pump going and know this pump is poison,” Andretti said. “I hear that pump right now. I hate that thing.”

The 54-year-old Andretti is in the fight of his life and has been for several months. He is battling cancer that started in his colon, spread to his liver and doctors believe to his spleen, too.

The former racer is back for his family’s annual May reunion in the venue that has always felt like home – Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a place that provides Andretti with the boost he needs right now.

“This place is life to an Andretti,” he said. “I get chills because this is the most special place on the planet for me, for my family. This gives me energy.”

Andretti started 49 consecutive IndyCar races from 1990-92 before moving to NASCAR, where he made 29 or more starts every year from 1994-2003. He was the first driver to attempt the Memorial Day double, racing first in the Indianapolis 500 and then NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600.

Andretti spoke Thursday during an announcement for his #CheckIt4Andretti campaign encouraging those 50 or older to get a colonoscopy. Andretti hopes the message is heard by everyone, not just racing fans.

A decal will be placed on every car in 101st running of the 500, the Coca-Cola 600 and the Freedom 100 races. The decal will also be displayed at other races in Indiana and Kentucky this month with the (hash)CheckIt4Andretti message “Schedule Your Colonoscopy Today.”

“John is in a different race,” Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Doug Boles said. “And not unlike his spirit and his fight, he has figured out a way to be a superhero in this new fight and this new race that he’s on.”

It’s an important message that can save a life or at the very least, relieve some pain and financial burden. Had he gone through a colonoscopy at 50, Andretti said, he believes the cancer never would have progressed to this point. Throughout his career, Andretti received regular medical screenings – just not the one he’s now pushing for.

“I was always focused on my health,” Andretti said. “It wasn’t a matter that I wasn’t paying attention. … The only thing I was missing was a colonoscopy.”

Andretti has nearly forced those closest to him to get one, including his cousin, Michael, who recently had his. Prior to Thursday’s announcement, Andretti placed the first decal on one of his cousin’s cars.

“It is perfectly aligned and straight,” Andretti said. “I was going to actually put it on crooked so it would drive my cousin nuts for the whole month.”

Most of Andretti’s chemotherapy treatments have been in North Carolina, where he lives, and his sixth treatment will be in Indianapolis next week. In June, he will have surgery on his liver and spleen.

“People get embarrassed by talking about colonoscopies and they shouldn’t be because it’s just something that’s natural,” Andretti said. “So it’s something that’s really close to me now and obviously important, and for everybody to do. It’s way easier than doing (chemo), I can guarantee you that, because I did both.”

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Family delivers message on behalf of John Andretti’s cancer fight

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Michael Andretti is taking his cousin’s message public.

The former IndyCar star and current team owner is urging people to get regular screenings for early detection of colon cancer. Andretti made the plea on behalf of his cousin, John, a former race-car driver who is currently undergoing chemotherapy after doctors diagnosed him in January.

Doctors have told John Andretti that the disease also has spread to his liver.

John’s 24-year-old, Jarrett, also was in Indianapolis on Thursday. He says his 54-year-old father is fighting hard and has been upbeat throughout the process.

Both said John Andretti had never had a colonoscopy until January.

Michael says he had his first screening only a few weeks ago and was clear.

More AP auto racing: http://www.racing.ap.org .

John Andretti thanks fans; urges ‘advocacy’ for colonoscopies

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In a follow-up statement posted Tuesday following his revelation to WTHR-TV’s Dave Calabro (NBC affiliate in Indianapolis) that he has Stage 4 colon cancer, John Andretti thanked his fans and the motorsports community for their support while he urged everyone to be “their own health care advocate.”

Andretti, first cousin of Michael and Jeff Andretti and nephew to Mario Andretti, now told Calabro he is in “Stage 4A” of this diagnosis, but is working hard to beat it through chemotherapy.

In his statement out today, Andretti urges those over 50 to get a colonoscopy, and for those that do to include the hashtag of #CheckIt4Andretti.

The full statement is below.

Ex-race driver John Andretti fighting colon cancer

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Former IndyCar and NASCAR driver John Andretti says he is undergoing chemotherapy for stage-four colon cancer that’s spread to his liver.

The 54-year-old Andretti tells WTHR-TV of Indianapolis that doctors found the cancer in January and he has had surgery to remove part of his colon. Andretti has been receiving treatments at a hospital near his North Carolina home.

The nephew of racing legend Mario Andretti says he expects to have liver surgery in June. He says he decided to go public to encourage people to undergo colon cancer screenings.

John Andretti made the last of his 11 Indy 500 starts in 2011, with a best finish of fifth in 1991. He has two NASCAR and one IndyCar wins in his career, and was last a full-time driver during the 2009 NASCAR season.

More AP auto racing: http://racing.ap.org

Information from: WTHR-TV, http://www.wthr.com/