Alex Trebek may be battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer, but he isn't planning on going anywhere anytime soon. Speaking with Good Morning America on Monday ahead of the release of his memoir, The Answer Is …: Reflections On My Life, the Jeopardy! host opened up about his battle and his outlook on survivability, revealing that he anticipates being here on the two-year mark of his diagnosis in February.
Discussing everything from the overwhelming amount of support he has received from his wife to admitting that some days are more difficult than others, Trebek, 79, said that his doctor has told him that "he is counting on me celebrating two years of – survivorship past the diagnosis of stage 4 pancreatic cancer." The game show host was diagnosed with the disease in February of 2019, publicly announcing it in March of that year. Trebek said that not only does he "expect to be around 'cause he [Trebek's doctor] said I will be around," but he expects "to be hosting the show" on which he has been a staple for 36 years. Trebek credited Jeopardy! for helping him get through even the toughest days.
The long-time game show host also opened up about the experimental immunotherapy treatment he has been receiving. The treatment is the same treatment that was used by former Sen. Harry Reid, who was also diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer and is now in remission. Trebek explained that doctors perform "a blood test to see what my CA 19 numbers are," which indicates how pancreatic cancer is progressing. While his CA 19 numbers were around 3,500 eight weeks ago, they have since dipped below 100, something that Trebek says signals he is "going in the right direction." He quipped that he is "a bit of an anomaly" because "doctors have said they have never seen a chart like mine because there are peaks."
Although Trebek hopes to have many months or years of life ahead of him, and the treatment seems to be working, he did say that should he stop showing improvements, he's "not going to go to any extraordinary measures to ensure my survival." He said that "if the quality of life is not there – it's hard sometimes to push."
Despite that, Trebek said that his hope of survival has him from "getting his affairs in order." He explained that "there's something in the back of my mind that says, 'Woah, hold on a second, host, breathe. Maybe you're gonna be around for a little while longer.'" He added, "that would be so nice."