Note: Send John Andretti a get well card at the following address

John Andretti

P.O. Box 724

Davidson, NC   28036

CHARLOTTE - John Andretti's message at Levine Cancer Institute on Monday was simple: I don't have to be here. And neither do you.

"There's no reason for this to be like this," said Andretti. "Had I gone when I was 50, I know that this would be better than it is now."

Andretti, now 54, didn't get screened for colon cancer until he was 53. On Monday he went through his fifth chemo treatment -- and he's only about halfway home.

"This is," Andretti said, "not pleasant."

Now Andretti's message is simple. If you're 50 or older, get a screening.

"It's a day out of your life," he said. "And you say I can't give up a day? Well you know what, you can because I'm giving up a lot more than that."

Like many of us, Andretti was just too busy to really pursue a screening when he should have. But he's realized when the diagnosis comes down the devastation isn't just reserved for you.

"You soon realize you can be as tough as you want and deal with whatever you want," he said. "But now you've caused a lot of hardship on your family."

Now Andretti's surgery to try and clear his cancer will come just days after his daughters' wedding.

But as he'll tell you it doesn't have to be this way.

"You should just go do it," said Andretti, "and you'll be happy you did. Trust me."

Facts about colon cancer and screenings

  • Chances of developing increases significantly after age 50
  • Regular screenings can reduce your risk of developing colon cancer by up to 90%

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