Alex Trebek is beating the odds after having been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer earlier this year.
The illness has one of the worst prognoses of all cancers, with just 5 per cent of people living for five years after diagnosis, according to the American Cancer Society. The Jeopardy! host’s fans were shocked when the 78-year-old originally from Sudbury, Ontario revealed he had the illness.
But the star told People this week that incredibly, his tumours have been shrinking because he’s been responding so well to treatment – and his doctors say he’s in “near remission”!
“It’s kind of mind-boggling,” he told People. “The doctors said they hadn’t seen this kind of positive result in their memory… some of the tumours have already shrunk by more than 50 per cent.”
Alex told the magazine he still needs a few more rounds of chemotherapy for doctors to officially declare his cancer in remission, but he says he’s happy and feeling positive.
To say his last few months have been a struggle would be a gigantic understatement. Not only has Alex been battling one of the worst, most aggressive cancers, but he’s also been dealing with depression from the news. He says he credits his wife of 29 years, Jean Currivan-Trebek, for being a complete rock throughout his treatment.
“Jeannie is wonderful,” he told People. “My heart goes out to the caregivers, because they have to deal with their loved ones suffering and they also don’t always know how to help because there’s not much they can do, except try to make you feel more comfortable, at ease and not worry about ordinary stuff.”
“They’ve also got to be strong and not allow their mate not to feel like they’re downhearted, too,” he added.
After Alex's diagnosis, he said he would continue hosting Jeopardy! as long as he was able, and returned to work shortly after he revealed his news.
Pancreatic cancer has claimed the lives of a long list of celebrities, including Apple founder Steve Jobs, fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld, Little House on the Prairie actor Michael Landon, opera tenor Luciano Pavarotti, Harry Potter star Alan Rickman and Dirty Dancing and Grease star Patrick Swayze. Among those who have survived the illness is US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.