Jan 02, 2020
By Jane Brown
Canadian-born Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek and his wife Jean Trebek are talking openly about his continued struggle with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
“It’s when I see him in pain, and I can’t help him,” Jean Trebek said was the most difficult part about her husband’s fight against cancer in an interview with ABC, which will air on Thursday. Jean Trebek also explained that she doesn’t like to see when he doesn’t eat right, when he has too much diet soda,” to which Alex joked with interviewer Michael Strahan, “Back off Michael. If you get to be 79 and be in as good a shape as me. Oh, wait a minute. Blew that one Trebek.”
Alex Trebek first announced back in March that he had been diagnosed with cancer. In August, he finished chemotherapy and returned to work on the show. The game show host said he plans on continuing to work for Jeopardy! as long as his abilities “do not diminish.”
“I don’t mind getting choked up,” Alex Trebek said about the moment a contestant on his show wrote the message, “We love you, Alex,” as his answer during the final rounds of an episode last month. “My oncologist told me one of the symptoms, if you will, of pancreatic cancer is that you get these moments of depression, sadness.”
“I have learned something in the past year and it’s this: We don’t know when we’re going to die,” he told ABC. “Because of the cancer diagnosis, it’s no longer an open-ended life, it’s a closed-ended life because of the terrible survival rates of pancreatic cancer. Because of that, and something else that is operating here, people all over America and abroad have decided they want to let me know now, while I’m alive, about the impact that I’ve been having on their existence.”
Alex Trebek said that while his cancer is in “near remission,” he will have to do another round of treatment.
“We may try a new protocol, a different chemo or something in the trial stage that is not chemotherapy,” he said. “I don’t mind experimenting. I’ve got nothing to lose, so let’s go for it.”
Our own Libby Znaimer is a pancreatic cancer survivor and sent her best wishes to Alex Trebek after his diagnosis.