When Alex Trebek announced that he had stage 4 pancreatic cancer in March 2019, he didn’t miss a day of work despite battling the frequently brutal effects of chemotherapy. (Since Jeopardy! began in 1984, Trebek has hosted nearly 8,000 episodes.) “I plan to beat the low survival rate statistics for this disease. Truth told, I have to. Because under the terms of my contract, I have to host Jeopardy! for three more years,” Trebek said.
Fans immediately reacted with shock and support, sending cards, Tweets, holy water, prayer shawls and even cannabis. Trebek told journalists he felt extremely lucky for their good thoughts, positive energy, and prayers. “After you’re dead, people say, ‘Oh, he was such a good guy, we really liked him.’ But I am getting all that before that event. It makes me feel really, really good,” he’s said.
Trebek jokes that having stage 4 cancer sounds ‘impressive’ and ‘advanced’
Trebek initially blamed his stomach pain for several months on indigestion. When he finally went in for testing, doctors found a tumor the size of a small fist in his pancreas and diagnosed him with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, the most advanced stage. “It sounds impressive – I’ve got stage 4 cancer, okay? Not stage 1, for sissies, that’s just beginner’s cancer. I’ve got advanced!” Trebek said in an interview with Jane Pauley on CBS This Morning in mid-May.
Cancer of the pancreas is one of the deadliest forms of the disease. Only about nine percent of patients who are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer survive for five years, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS), although survival rates