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Television

‘Jeopardy!’ host Alex Trebek defies the odds, celebrates surviving a year with cancer

Alex Trebek on ‘Jeopardy! Greatest of All Time’
Alex Trebek, left, in January hosted the “Jeopardy! Greatest of All Time” tournament featuring contestants James Holzhauer, center, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, right.
(Eric McCandless / ABC)

Alex Trebek has survived one year since learning he has pancreatic cancer, the “Jeopardy!” host announced Wednesday in a video update on his health.

That puts the 79-year-old among the 18% of Stage 4 pancreatic cancer patients who make it to the one-year survival mark.

“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,” said Trebek, who has been dutiful with his video updates. “I joked with friends that the cancer won’t kill me, the chemo treatments will.

“There were moments of great pain, days when certain bodily functions no longer functioned, and sudden massive attacks of great depression that made me wonder if it really was worth fighting on.”

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But he said he pushed those thoughts aside quickly as they would have been “a massive betrayal” of his wife, Jean, who has committed herself fully to his fight, as well as his faith in God, the fans who have prayed on his behalf and the other cancer patients who have looked to him as an inspiration and “cheerleader of sorts.”

In an interview, Alex Trebek discussed his mental and emotional state amid his cancer battle, which is having adverse effects on his lifestyle.

This update is a change from the one in September, when Trebek revealed he’d had a setback and had to restart chemotherapy.

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The two-year survival rate for Wtage 4 pancreatic cancer is only 7%, but Trebek said Wednesday that his oncologist tried to cheer him up by saying he was certain he would see the host in his office a year from now, hitting the next landmark.

“You know something?” added Trebek. “If I — no, 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.”


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