John Andretti, 56, Dies Of Colon Cancer

John Andretti at Indianapolis 500 practice, May 17, 2008 | Carey Akin, CC BY-SA 2.0

PLUS: How to prevent colon cancer 

January 30, 2020

NASCAR.com – John Andretti, a longtime competitor in NASCAR, IndyCar and sports-car racing, died Thursday. He was 56.

“John Andretti embodied the spirit of a champion and inspired an entire fan base through his courageous battle with cancer,” NASCAR President Steve Phelps said in a statement.

Andretti won twice in 393 starts in NASCAR’s top division from 1993-2010, both victories coming with NASCAR Hall of Famers as his team owners.

He prevailed in July 1997 at Daytona International Speedway for Cale Yarborough Motorsports, then won again two years later in car owner Richard Petty’s No. 43 at Martinsville Speedway.

John Andrew Andretti was born into one of the nation’s most accomplished racing families. He was the son of Aldo Andretti, the twin brother of Mario Andretti, who is the only driver to win the Daytona 500, Indianapolis 500 and the Formula One driver’s championship. His cousins — Michael, Jeff and Marco — also have significant racing pedigrees.

John Andretti

Andretti revealed a diagnosis with Stage 4 colon cancer in April 2017. He described the peaks and valleys of treatment as a “chemocoaster” and disclosed that the disease had returned and spread last May.

Even in the face of adversity, Andretti made a point to raise awareness for routine check-ups during his updates, using the hashtag #CheckIt4Andretti to spread the message.

Andretti said last May in an interview with The Indianapolis Star:

“I’m an Andretti. I already beat the age I should have lived to. Growing up when you’re a little bit wild in a race car, I think everybody in our family’s always heard this: ‘You’re not going to live to see 20.’ Then it was, ‘You’re not going to live see 25, then 30.’ But here I am. Still going. Our family’s already been through plenty of trials, and we’re still here. To get taken down by this, well, I’m going to go out giving it the strongest fight I can give it.” Read more. 

Colon Cancer Prevention

Mayo Clinic – Doctors recommend that people with an average risk of colon cancer consider colon cancer screening around age 50. But people with an increased risk, such as those with a family history of colon cancer, should consider screening sooner.

Several screening options exist — each with its own benefits and drawbacks. Talk about your options with your doctor, and together you can decide which tests are appropriate for you.

Lifestyle changes to reduce your risk of colon cancer

You can take steps to reduce your risk of colon cancer by making changes in your everyday life. Take steps to:

  • Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains contain vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants, which may play a role in cancer prevention. Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables so that you get an array of vitamins and nutrients.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all. If you choose to drink alcohol, limit the amount of alcohol you drink to no more than one drink a day for women and two for men.
  • Stop smoking. Talk to your doctor about ways to quit that may work for you.
  • Exercise most days of the week. Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days. If you’ve been inactive, start slowly and build up gradually to 30 minutes. Also, talk to your doctor before starting any exercise program.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. If you are at a healthy weight, work to maintain your weight by combining a healthy diet with daily exercise. If you need to lose weight, ask your doctor about healthy ways to achieve your goal. Aim to lose weight slowly by increasing the amount of exercise you get and reducing the number of calories you eat.

Colon cancer prevention for people with a high risk

Some medications have been found to reduce the risk of precancerous polyps or colon cancer. For instance, some evidence links a reduced risk of polyps and colon cancer to regular use of aspirin or aspirin-like drugs. But it’s not clear what dose and what length of time would be needed to reduce the risk of colon cancer. Taking aspirin daily has some risks, including gastrointestinal bleeding and ulcers.

These options are generally reserved for people with a high risk of colon cancer. There isn’t enough evidence to recommend these medications to people who have an average risk of colon cancer.

If you have an increased risk of colon cancer, discuss your risk factors with your doctor to determine whether preventive medications are safe for you. Source.

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