Alex Trebek Diagnosed with Stage IV Pancreatic Cancer

Kirsten Ehlers - 1B Biomedical
Posted on: March 27, 2019

Beloved Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek announced March 6 that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. In his announcement, he stayed true to his witty humour and said: “Truth told, I have to [keep hosting] because under the terms of my contract, I have to host ‘Jeopardy‘ for three more years”.

The public announcement was due to his desire to maintain transparency and to avoid fans finding out from other sources in the media.

According to the American Cancer Society, pancreatic cancer has a five year survival rate. This is due to the fact that pancreatic cancer isn’t typically detected until the later stages. Three percent of cancer in the United States is classified as pancreatic cancer. Despite the unpleasant prognosis, Trebek has said that he plans to fight the cancer and win.

On March 14, Alex Trebek released a thank you video for all the fans who tweeted, emailed, and wrote him well wishes. Trebek has called himself a “lucky guy” for all the support he’s been given. One well wisher was the IBM computer Watson who sent him a get well card. Additionally, former Jeopardy! champions such as Ken Jennings have announced their support for Trebek by saying that “Alex is very aware of how much he means to millions of people, and how we will be pulling for him…I hope that’s a comfort”. Moreover, Brad Rutter, another champion, tweeted: “If anyone can beat this, [Trebek] can”. Ken Jennings joked: “I hope some very good L.A. oncologists are getting ready to have their mispronunciations corrected.”

Canadians have expressed their support including Prime Minister Trudeau, Toronto Mayor John Tory, and former Ontario premier Bob Rae.

Stephen Colbert, another CBS television host, discussed the diagnosis on his show. He said that “everybody loves Alex Trebek”. He expressed that everyone wants Trebek to stay strong and fight the cancer.

Other well-wishers include celebrities such as Ken Jeong, Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak, and radio host Ken Carmen.

Trebek has experienced other health issues in previous years. In 2007, Trebek had a minor heart attack, after which he had a short break for just over a month. In 2017, Trebek had brain surgery after experiencing blood clots. The blood clots were a result of a subdural hematoma, a condition that arose after hitting his head earlier that year. At the beginning of 2018, he took a hiatus from Jeopardy! to recover from the brain surgery.

However, after announcing his cancer diagnosis, Trebek is back to work filming Jeopardy!‘s next season

Trebek, undoubtedly has made a significant impact in Canadian Culture. Prior to Jeopardy!, Sudbury-born Trebek was a host of Reach for the Top on CBC news. Later, he became the host on Classic Concentration. He has hosted Jeopardy! since 1984. This long career as Jeopardy! host won him a Guinness World Record in 2014 for hosting the most game show episodes. The total was 6,829 at the time. He won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Daytime Emmys® and five Daytime Emmy® Awards for Outstanding Game Show Host for Jeopardy!. In 2017, he was appointed to the Order of Canada for his work in television, and dedication to the environment, education, and humanitarianism.

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