‘Jeopardy!’ host Alex Trebek says his treatment for pancreatic cancer is going “mind-bogglingly” well
Are you ready for a piece of totally and utterly good news? Beloved Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek reports that his cancer treatment is going well, some of his tumors have shrunk by 50 percent, and that his doctors say that he’s “near remission.” That makes us happier than getting the Final Jeopardy question right.
The 78-year-old gameshow legend talked to People about his battle with cancer, and gave them the scoop on how he’s feeling and how his treatment is progressing.
“It’s kind of mind-boggling,” he said. “The doctors said they hadn’t seen this kind of positive result in their memory…some of the tumors have already shrunk by more than 50 percent.”
Trebek, who has hosted Jeopardy! for a staggering 8,000 episodes, is undergoing chemotherapy for his Stage 4 pancreatic cancer — a very serious diagnosis that only has about a nine percent survival rate.
He told the magazine that he was in the fight of his life, and that when he heard the good news, “[T]hey were tears of joy, not tears of depression.”
He credits his doctors and his medical treatment (he’ll have to do more rounds of chemo to continue on his path of recovery), but he also credits the outpouring of love that he’s received around the world from well-wishers and fans.
“I’ve got a couple million people out there who have expressed their good thoughts, their positive energy directed towards me and their prayers,” he said. “I told the doctors, this has to be more than just the chemo, and they agreed it could very well be an important part of this.”
“I’ve got a lot of love out there headed in my direction and a lot of prayer, and I will never ever minimize the value of that.”
He also reported to Good Morning America that, “my oncologist tells me I’m doing well even if I don’t even feel it. I’ve had kidney stones, I’ve had ruptured disks, so I’m used to dealing with pain. But what I’m not used to dealing with is the surges that come on suddenly of deep, deep sadness, and it brings tears to my eyes. I’ve discovered in this whole episode, ladies and gentlemen, that I’m a bit of a wuss.”
He went on to talk about how chemo has been affecting his mental health.
“But I’m fighting through it. The cancer indicators are coming down. I have another chemo next week, and then we’ll do another review to see where things stand. …Chemo affects people in different ways and people have to understand that. There’s nothing wrong with saying, I’m really depressed today and I have no idea why.”
Trebeck has been extremely candid about his journey since he announced his cancer diagnosis three months ago. Whether he’s been talking about his fear, depression, and sadness, or giving inspirational speeches at cancer research fundraisers, he’s the national treasure that he’s always been — just in a slightly different way now.
“I’m a 62-day survivor,” he said at the PurpleStride Los Angeles fundraiser. “And if I become a 22-year survivor, you are all welcome to my 100th birthday.”
We truly hope that he keeps recovering, and that in no time, he’ll be in full remission. Really, if it were up to us, the man would be immortal.
The full interview with Trebek publishes in People on Friday.
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