KRAVITZ BLOG: Andretti announces his cancer has returned, and that it has spread

John Andretti
Bob Kravitz

John Andretti completed his chemotherapy in November and then on March 1, he spoke to the media, saying he was "right on plan'' with his recovery from colon cancer.

The pernicious and ugly disease had different ideas though, and on Tuesday, Andretti sadly tweeted that the cancer was back and had spread elsewhere in his body. Here was his tweet:

"Following my 6 month scans last week, we received the news that the cancer has returned & spread to other areas. We are in the process of evaluating our options of treatment. Although this is a difficult time for us, your continued prayers and support are very important to us.''

I'm paid to write, to put things in perspective, and I'm at a loss:


Damn, damn, damn.

Andretti, who is the nephew of Mario Andretti and son of Aldo Andretti, believed he was headed in the right direction just a few short months back when his scans came back clean. At 55, he had been diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer in April of 2017, and now it appeared he might beat this terrible disease. Cancer, though, is pernicious and cruel. It returned. It spread. And now…who knows?

All throughout his fight with cancer, Andretti has tried to make a positive change out of a dreadful situation, starting the #CheckIt4Andretti movement to inspire men of a certain age to get routine colonoscopies. Andretti is like so many people, especially men, who say every year they're going to schedule a colonoscopy, then never get around to doing it. By the time Andretti had his, the disease had set up residence in his body.

Now, he's back in the fight of his life, for his life.

Andretti drove 17 seasons in NASCAR, won two races and had 37 top-10 finishes. He also drove in 10 IndyCar races, including five Indianapolis 500's.

Sadly, this news hits very close to home for me. My youngest daughter is going to marry a fine young man whose father was recently diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. Like Andretti, the disease has spread. Like Andretti, he put off his colonoscopy for years and years despite having lost his father to colon cancer. Like Andretti, he is a vibrant and healthy middle-aged man; surely, colon cancer would not visit him. And then he had his colonoscopy, and the news wasn't good. He's just begun chemotherapy, and we think of him every day.

The wedding is tentatively scheduled for next August. He plans to be there and we plan to see him there. But this disease, it's pitiless. We don't know what the future holds, just as Andretti waits and wonders and prepares to fight again.

Do yourself a favor: If you are 50 or older, make sure you are getting your colonoscopies. If you come from a family with a history of colon cancer, begin at an earlier age, whatever and whenever your doctor tells you to begin.

Again: Damn.

Your thoughts and prayers are welcome.

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