While Alex Trebek tells fans he’s doing well, he also told the Times he’ll stop cancer treatment if it stops working — and he’s at peace with that
Yesterday, longtime Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek posted a video updating fans what show production was looking like during COVID-19. After announcing vintage Jeopardy! episodes were set to air through the rest of July and August with some updated show openings he has been filming at home, Trebek also gave us a health update — his first one in months.
Trebek has been battling Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, which he announced back in March 2019. This past March, the Jeopardy! icon beat the one-year survival rate for Stage 4 pancreatic cancer patients, which is only 18 percent.
“If we take it just one day at a time with a positive attitude, anything is possible,” Trebek said, per NBC News. And it looks like that positivity is truly paying off.
“I’m doing well,” Trebek said in yesterday’s video. “I’ve been continuing my treatment and it is paying off, though it does fatigue me a great deal. My numbers are good. I’m feeling great. In fact, during the break from the studio, I even wrote a book that will be coming out July 21.”
Only Alex Trebek would continue working nonstop while undergoing aggressive cancer treatment and write a book in his downtime. The Answer Is …: Reflections on My Life comes out next Tuesday.
That’s not to say Trebek’s cancer treatment has been going smoothly.
In a New York Times interview that was published today, Trebek admitted that some days he wakes up in “agony,” and struggles with simply getting out of bed. The host, who turns 80 this month, told the Times that if his current cancer treatments fail him, he plans to stop them altogether.
“Yesterday morning my wife came to me and said, ‘How are you feeling?’ And I said, ‘I feel like I want to die.’ It was that bad. There comes a time where you have to make a decision as to whether you want to continue with such a low quality of life, or whether you want to just ease yourself into the next level. It doesn’t bother me in the least.”
According to the Times, doctors say that Trebek’s prognosis has gotten worse. Although no further details were discussed, it can be assumed that, although Trebek’s number are “looking good,” per yesterday’s video, it seems like his cancer has, unfortunately, been an uphill battle.
At this point, Trebek’s quality of life is more important than treatment, and he’s previously talked about how the severity of chemo has actually made him feel worse than the cancer himself.
“I’d joke with friends, ‘the cancer won’t kill me; the chemo treatments will.’ There were moments of great pain, days where certain bodily functions no longer functioned and sudden, massive attacks of great depression made me wonder if it was really worth fighting on,” Trebek told NBC News in March.
Regardless, Trebek remains optimistic, and he tells fans in his video, “I can’t wait to return to the studio and start recording shows for the new season in September. Meanwhile, my wish for all of you — stay safe.”
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