Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek gave an update on his Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, exactly one year after he was diagnosed.
On Wednesday, Trebek posted a video to his Twitter account saying that he’d beaten the one-year survival rate for Stage 4 pancreatic cancer patients, which is 18 per cent.
“I’m very happy to report I have just reached that marker,” Trebek said.
“Now I’d be lying if I said the journey had been an easy one. There were some good days but a lot of not-so-good days,” he shared.
Trebek said that he jokes with friends saying, “the cancer won’t kill me, the chemo treatments will.”
He said that there were “moments of great pain” and he experienced days when “certain bodily functions no longer functioned.”
Trebek also revealed that he had “sudden, massive attacks of great depression that made me wonder if it really was worth fighting on.”
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“But I brushed that aside quickly because that would have been a massive betrayal. A betrayal of my wife and soulmate, Jean, who has given her all to help me survive,” Trebek said.
He said that it also would have been a betrayal to other cancer patients “who have looked to me as an inspiration, and a cheerleader of sorts, of the value of living and hope.”
“And it would certainly be a betrayal of my faith in God and the millions of prayers that have been said on my behalf,” he added.
The 79-year-old game show host said his oncologist tried to “cheer him up” and told him that the two-year survival rate is only 7 per cent but “he was certain that one year from now, the two of us would be sitting in his office celebrating my second anniversary of survival.”
“If we — because so many of us are involved in this same situation — if we take it just one day at a time, with a positive attitude, anything is possible,” Trebek concluded.
Pancreatic cancer has one of the lowest survival rates of all cancers. According to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, the five-year survival rate from 2008 to 2014 was 8.5 per cent. Stage 4 is the most advanced form of the disease.
In Canada, an estimated 5,500 people were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2017 — 4,800 died from it, according to the Canadian Cancer Society.
Trebek has hosted Jeopardy! since 1984, winning five Daytime Emmys for Outstanding Game Show Host. He was born in Sudbury, Ont., and attended the University of Ottawa.
—With files from Chris Jancelewicz