The beloved long time host of Jeopardy! Alex Trebek has announced he is receiving experimental immunotherapy treatment to help combat his stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
The 79-year-old host announced in March 2019 that he had pancreatic cancer and had an 18-percent chance of living another year. Since then, he has had numerous ups and downs, but the current prognosis is looking very positive.
In an interview with Good Morning America on Monday, Trebek spoke about the new experimental immunotherapy treatment he is currently receiving. And so far, the news is pretty good.
The therapy is the same as that used by former Senator Harry Reid, who was also diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer and subsequently went into remission.
Alex Trebek’s cancer treatment numbers look good
“They do a blood test to see what my CA 19 numbers are. And the CA 19 numbers are an indicator of how your pancreatic cancer is progressing,” Trebek said about the treatment.
“Eight weeks ago, the numbers were at about 3,500. Now, they’re below 100,” he explained. “So, I’m going in the right direction.”
Trebek also said his doctors see him as a bit of an anomaly.
“The doctors have said they have never seen a chart like mine because there are peaks. I said, ‘What do you mean; you don’t… you don’t see that often? What do you usually see?’ They usually see it going up. I’m a bit of an anomaly.”
However, if this new experimental treatment doesn’t work, Trebek says that would be it. He said he would continue with the chemo, but he wouldn’t “continue with any other extraordinary measures to ensure my survival.”
In a very emotional interview, he paid tribute to his wife of 30 years, Jean Trebek. He described how he is in “awe” of how Jean “handles it.”
He also spoke of the tremendous physical and mental toll the illness has taken on him. He said there are good and bad days.
Some days “I feel like I want to die,” he explained.
But he also spoke of how much he enjoys doing Jeopardy!
“I suddenly wake up, and I’m able to perform and handle the show. Because I like it. It’s a good job.”
Alex Trebek doesn’t plan on giving up Jeopardy!
Trebek also reiterated that he expects to be hosting the show for the foreseeable future and has no plans to give it up anytime soon.
He talked about writing his memoir, Reflections On My Life, after the outpouring of love and good wishes since he first announced his battle with cancer.
He said he’ll donate the proceeds to charity.
A contestant brought Trebek to tears last November when instead of answering a question correctly, Dhruv Gaur wrote, “We love you, Alex!”
The move meant Gaur threw away his chance at winning in the final round.
The iconic host will be celebrating his 80th birthday on Wednesday. We hope he continues to celebrate many more in the future.