UPDATE: After Cancer Battle, Alex Trebek Is Back To Celebrate 35 Years On 'Jeopardy!'
May 30, 2019
UPDATE: On Monday, September 9, 2019, Alex Trebek returned from his battle with pancreatic cancer to host Jeopardy!'s season premiere. The 2019-20 season is the 36th with Trebek at the podium; his first episode aired on September 10, 1984.
Trebek has been all-business in the lead-up to this season. In a short video posted online on August 29, he said simply, "I’ve gone through a lot of chemotherapy, and thankfully that is now over. I’m on the mend, and that’s all I can hope for right now."
Greeting the crowd on the season premiere, his gave only the slightest nod to his medical ordeal, saying:
Today, Jeopardy! begins its 36th season on the air and I’m happy to report, I’m still here.
It's good news for Jeopardy! fans and another hopeful chapter in the story of Trebek's remarkable recovery, which is detailed in our original post. The text follows:
Beat It, Trebek!
It's a true daily double: Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek has announced that his cancer tumors are shrinking dramatically and that he is "near remission."
In March, Trebek announced that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Since then he’s done his best to keep the public up to date with his diagnosis, but nobody was prepared for this week's bombshell revelation that he's making a miraculous comeback. He told People magazine:
It’s kind of mind-boggling. The doctors said they hadn’t seen this kind of positive result in their memory… some of the tumors have already shrunk by more than 50 percent.
He’s admitted that he’s not out of the woods yet, but he remains optimistic.
Aside from letting the public into his battle with pancreatic cancer, Trebek has been able to put a face on this frightening illness -- statistically, pancreatic cancer is among the most deadly cancers. Rather than hole up in his home he’s appeared on television as much as possible to let people know that there’s life after cancer. He appeaars to be making good on the vow he made when he announced his condition:
I plan to beat the low survival rate statistics for this disease.
He Announced His Diagnosis In March
Trebek was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer in March, and while that’s not great news, the host says the silver lining was the fact that he was diagnosed at the end of a season. While speaking with ABC he said that he was “lucky” that everything happened when it did and explained:
We wrapped up the season and now I have the summer months to recuperate and get strong again. I just have to get strong because, as you know, the chemo takes it out of you. I mean, I feel so weak all the time and that's not a good place to be.
He Broke The News To Fans On YouTube
Trebek decided to tell his fans about his upsetting diagnosis, he decided to let everyone in so they wouldn’t be confused by rumors about his health. The host took to YouTube where he explained that 50,000 people in the United States each year are diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer.
He admitted that while it’s rare that people come back from a diagnosis like his, he said that he’s going to fight it. The coolest Canadian on TV also said that he has to survive his diagnosis because he’s contracted to his Jeopardy! for another four years. Let it be known that Alex Trebek means business when he signs a contract.
The Host Was In A Massive Amount Of Pain While Filming The Show
While speaking about his diagnosis with CBS Sunday Morning in May, Trebek was open about the pain he experienced when he first started receiving treatment. He said the worst of the pain occurred while he was in the middle of his hosting duties. He told Jane Pauley:
This got really bad. I was on the floor writhing in pain. It went from a three to an 11. And I just couldn't believe it, I didn't know what was happening. And it happened three or four times a day while we were taping. So, that was a little rough on me… I got through it, and the producers were very kind. They said, ‘Look, if you don't wanna do the show, we'll just cancel taping.’ I said, ‘No. We're here. We're doing the show.'
It Wasn’t The Pain That Bothered Him, It Was The Sadness
In an appearance on Good Morning America in early May, Trebek was honest about how much his chemotherapy was affecting his emotions as well as his body. He said that the worst part about the effects isn’t the pain, but the “deep, deep sadness” that follows the treatments. He explained:
I've had kidney stones, I've had ruptured disks, so I'm used to dealing with pain, But what I'm not used to dealing with is the surges that come on suddenly of deep, deep sadness, and it brings tears to my eyes.
Rather than have everyone think that he’s wallowing in self-pity, Trebek finished his anecdote by saying, “I've discovered in this whole episode, ladies and gentleman, that I'm a bit of a wuss.”
He Credits His Fans With His Recovery
Obviously, chemotherapy and a crack medical staff have played a large part in Alex Trebek’s recovery. However, he notes that the outpouring of love from his fans has definitely helped ease his pain. He said:
I've got a couple million people out there who have expressed their good thoughts, their positive energy directed towards me and their prayers. I told the doctors, this has to be more than just the chemo, and they agreed it could very well be an important part of this. I've got a lot of love out there headed in my direction and a lot of prayer, and I will never ever minimize the value of that.