Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek says his cancer indicators have gone down – but his well-being hasn’t necessarily improved accordingly.
“My oncologist says I’m doing well even though I don’t always feel it,” Trebek said Wednesday on Good Morning America, joking that he has discovered he is “a big wuss.”
Trebek, who was diagnosed this year with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, explained that his chemotherapy treatments have brought on surges of “deep, deep sadness.”
The treatment affects people in different ways, he said, and “there’s nothing wrong in saying I’m really depressed today and I have no idea why.”
In an honest discussion with host Robin Roberts, who is a breast cancer survivor, Trebek shared details that some battling the disease might have kept to themselves.
He did so, he said, to draw “attention to this particular type of devastating cancer.”
Pancreatic cancer, which is almost always found in patients over age 45, has the highest mortality rate of all major cancers. Often, it is often diagnosed too late.
As The Washington Post previously reported:
“The National Cancer Institute tracked patients’ survival rates from the time of diagnosis and found that by the five-year mark, only 9 percent of pancreatic cancer patients remained alive.
“In 2016, the disease became the third-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, overtaking breast cancer, and it is expected to overtake colorectal cancer to become the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the country by 2020, according to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. (The leading cause remains lung cancer.)”
Trebek said Wednesday, “Pretty soon, we’re going to come up with the cure.” Until then, he vowed to continue educating and informing the public.
The Good Morning America segment closed with Trebek discussing Jeopardy! sensation James Holzhauer, the reigning winner on the show. The 34-year-old professional gambler has already won $ 1.5 million in half the time of 74-game-winner Ken Jennings.
Holzhauer has rocked Trebek’s belief that Jennings’s record of winning the most games would never be broken. Now, he’s not so sure.
“[Holzhauer] has no weaknesses,” Trebek said. “He knows how to play the game, has a strategy,” he said, adding that the winning streak has also boosted show ratings.
With another chemo session scheduled next week, Trebek hopes to spend the summer growing stronger and return to original programming next season. Grateful to the many people who have reached out with stories of years-long survival, he said, “I am now a 30-day cancer survivor, but I’m going to catch up.”