Alex Trebek, the long-time host of the popular game show Jeopardy!, announced that he was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer.
In a YouTube video, the 78-year-old stated that he learned of his diagnosis this week and that he, “wanted to prevent you [the viewers] from reading or hearing some overblown or inaccurate reports regarding my health.”
According to the American Cancer Society, all pancreatic cancers have about a 9% relative 5-year survival rate. That number drops to 3% when the cancer is stage IV. However, Trebek remains optimistic.
"Now normally, the prognosis for this is not very encouraging, but I’m going to fight this, and I’m going to keep working," he said in the video. "And with the love and support of my family and friends and with the help of your prayers also, I plan to beat the low survival rate statistics for this disease."
Trebek even joked that he needs to continue on working, since his contract with Jeopardy! states that he must host the show for another 3 years.
In an interview with Oncology Nursing News, pancreatic cancer expert Daniel M. Labow, M.D., chief, Surgical Oncology Division, Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, mentioned that the only treatment option for stage IV pancreatic cancer is chemotherapy, and how well an individual tolerates treatment could have huge implications for their outcomes.
“First of all, I think he looks pretty good. It doesn’t look like he’s already lost weight and have this taken over his body, which means he should be able to tolerate treatment,” Labow said. “I think his philosophy is a good one – to be aggressive and fight this as hard as he can. Of course, only time will tell.”