“Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek has been battling pancreatic cancer since March and has been extremely open with his fans about his health status since his diagnosis.
Last month, Trebek told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that his cancer numbers had “skyrocketed” and that he would have to undergo further chemotherapy.
Now the world-famous game show host claims that the side effects of his most recent round of treatments can affect his ability to host “Jeopardy!” At the beginning of March, Trebek shared a video update to the YouTube channel, showcasing that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
Even though pancreatic cancer has an extremely low survival rate, he told his fans that he would battle with it and that he would not quit hosting his game show.
“Now normally, the prognosis for this is not very encouraging, but I’m going to fight this, and I’m going to keep working,” Trebek said in March. “And with the love and support of my family and friends and with the help of your prayers also, I plan to beat the low survival rate statistics for this disease.”
Until quite recently, the 79-year-old’s updates gave fans hope that he would beat the odds, but a heartbreaking update on “Good Morning America” on Sept. 17 took a different turn.
“I was doing so well,” Trebek said. “And my numbers went down to the equivalent of a normal human being who does not have pancreatic cancer. So we were all very optimistic.
“And they said, ‘Good, we’re gonna stop chemo, we’ll start you on immunotherapy.’ I lost about 12 pounds in a week. And my numbers went sky high, much higher than they were when I was first diagnosed.”
Trebek began another section of chemotherapy to help fight the high cancer data even though he had initially thought that chemotherapy was a thing of the past.
His most recent round of chemotherapy, however, is stronger.
“There are weaknesses I feel in my body, but I can always suck it up when it comes to tape the show,” he told Canada’s CTV News.
He shared that the chemotherapy has created sores in his mouth and that they are starting to affect his ability to enunciate.
Trebek still stands by his promise to host the show until he no longer can, but he said he now recognizes that the side effects of his treatment could cause him to step aside earlier than he hoped.
He reassured fans that he will stay on the show “as long as my skills do not diminish.”
“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.’”
The game show host is making sure to remain positive in the midst of such grim circumstances, however, and he said that he isn’t scared of death.
“I’m not afraid of dying,” Trebek told CTV News. “I’ve lived a good life, a full life, and I’m nearing the end of that life … if it happens, why should I be afraid that?”