Just a few months after his own diagnosis, “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek has announced a “global PSA” to increase awareness about the symptoms of pancreatic cancer.
In March, the 79-year-old host was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer and has since been extremely open about his health status to his viewers.
He told the “Good Morning America” of ABC in September that his cancer numbers had “skyrocketed” and that more chemotherapy would be required.
However, minor sores in his mouth arose in those rounds of chemotherapy.
In early October, Trebek said in an interview with Canada’s CTV News that the sores have begun to impair his ability to pronounce words just as he did in the past.
“I’m sure there are observant members of the television audience that notice also, but they’re forgiving,” he said. “But there will come a point when they [fans and producers] will no longer be able to say, ‘It’s OK.’”
While Trebek hopes to keep his promise to fight his cancer and keep hosting “Jeopardy! he may be forced to end his role at some point due to the side effects of his treatments.
Trebek expressed the realities of many people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer face in a recent video uploaded to YouTube.
“In nearly every country, pancreatic cancer is the only major cancer with a five-year survival rate in the single digits,” he said.
“Now in order to help patients fight and survive this disease, more attention and awareness are needed,” Trebek said. “And that’s why I’ve joined forces with the World Pancreatic Cancer Coalition, to help raise global awareness of the risks and symptoms of pancreatic cancer.”
The World Pancreatic Cancer Coalition helps to increase awareness about pancreatic cancer in an attempt to encourage people to recognize the symptoms and get diagnosed earlier.
The symptoms of pancreatic cancer may include abdominal pain, loss of appetite, depression, new-onset diabetes, skin yellowing, and fatigue, according to the Mayo Clinic.
It is often not detected until it is more advanced, making this particular type of cancer so deadly.
Trebek said before his diagnosis, he experienced abdominal pain.
“I wish I had known sooner that the persistent stomach pain I experienced prior to my diagnosis was a symptom of pancreatic cancer,” he said.
The beloved host then asked his fans to participate in Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month in November by wearing purple and helping spread awareness.
Dr. Mehmet Oz said to Fox News that Trebek is in great spirits in spite of his bleak situation.
“He’s a strong man, and I think he’s doing much better than I would do,” he said.
“Pancreatic cancer, like all cancer, hides from you and hides at a really bad place,” Oz added, “right in the middle of your body where you can’t tell it’s there.”