September 17, 2019
"Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek says he is headed for a second round of chemotherapy following a setback in his battle against pancreatic cancer.
Trebek, 79, revealed the news Tuesday morning in a taped interview with "Good Morning America" journalist T.J. Holmes.
Trebek underwent chemotherapy after he was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. He publicly disclosed his diagnosis in March, vowing to beat the low survival rates associated with pancreatic cancer.
Last month, he announced the treatment was working. But he revealed Tuesday that his numbers – which initially fell following chemotherapy – have elevated to levels higher than when he was diagnosed. He also lost a significant weight.
Trebek has continued hosting "Jeopardy!" throughout his cancer fight.
"It has different effects on you," Trebek said of the disease. "For some reason – and I don't understand why – occasionally it will cause pain in my lower back. Other times it's fatigue. Other times it's nausea. It varies. Cancer is mysterious in more ways than one."
Publically, Trebek has remained optimistic. But he revealed that the battle, at times, has worn on him mentally.
"There are moments when for no reason at all, I feel this surge of sadness, of depression," Trebek told Holmes. "It doesn't last very long, but it takes over my whole being for a short period of time. And I understand it more now, so I can deal with it a lot better than I could before.
"When it happened early on, I was down on myself. I said, 'Hey, you shouldn't be reacting this way.' I didn't realize how fallible each of us is in his or her own way."
Trebek again pledged to continuing hosting "Jeopardy!" as his enters a new phase in his battle. He said walking out and greeting the audience and contestant makes him happy.
Should cancer claim his life, he said he doesn't want anyone saying he was taken too soon.
"Hey guys, I'm 79 years old," Trebek said. "I've had one helluva a good life and I've enjoyed it. The thought of passing on doesn't frighten me. It doesn't. Other things do. The effect it will have on my loved ones, yes, that bothers me. It makes me sad."
About 55,440 Americans will be diagnosed of pancreatic cancer this year. Nearly 75 percent of pancreatic cancer patients die within the first year of diagnosis. Ninety percent die within five years.
Trebek, a Canada native, made his American television debut in 1973 on NBC's "The Wizard of Odds" gameshow. He began hosting "Jeopardy!" in 1984.
Watch the entire "Good Morning America" segment here.