Alex Trebek is defying the odds. The longtime Jeopardy! host took to social media to give viewers an update on his battle with pancreatic cancer. Trebek announced his diagnosis with the aggressive disease in March 2019. He took the one-year anniversary of his diagnosis to share his thoughts on beating the odds, as well as his hopes for the future.
“Hi everyone. If you’ve got a minute, I’d like to bring you up to date on my health situation. The one-year survival rate for stage four pancreatic cancer patients is 18 percent. I’m very happy to report I’ve just reached that marker,” he said.
Then Trebek went into detail about the toll his treatments have taken on him and the bouts of depression he battled while undergoing chemo.
“Now 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. 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,” he said. “But I brushed that aside quickly because that would have been a massive betrayal—a betrayal of my wife and soulmate, Jean, who has given her all to help me survive. It would have been a betrayal of other cancer patients who have looked to me as an inspiration and a cheerleader of sorts, of the value of living and hope, and it would certainly have been a betrayal of my faith in God and the millions of prayers that have been said on my behalf.”
Trebek said his doctor attempted to cheer him up recently and said while the two-year survival rate with stage four pancreatic cancer is just 7 percent, he was certain a year from now the game show host would be sitting in his office celebrating another beating of the odds.
“And you know something? 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. I’ll keep you posted,” Trebek signed off.
In early 2020, Trebek spoke to press at the 2020 Television Critics Association winter press tour. While there, he said he already has a retirement speech planned, but no set date when he will make it. The decision will come on a whim.
“Keep in mind, I’m 79 now, and I don’t foresee that 30-second [goodbye speech] coming up in the near future,” he said about retirement, noting he takes things on a month-to-month basis.
Jeopardy! airs in syndication. Check your local listings.