Alex Trebek Celebrates Surviving 1 Year Since Pancreatic Cancer Diagnosis: 'Worth Fighting On'
Alex Trebek is beating the odds — and spreading more messages of positivity during his ongoing fight against stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
In a new video, the Jeopardy! host notes that despite there being only an 18 percent one-year survival rate for patients, he’s passed that milestone — and plans to celebrate another one next year.
“I am very happy to report that I have just reached that marker,” Trebek says, referring to the less than 20 percent one-year survival static.
Still, he admits the journey hasn’t been easy, having had fought several ups and downs.
“There were some good days, but a lot of not so good days,” he says. “I joke with friends that the cancer won’t kill me, but the chemo will.”
Last May, Trebek told PEOPLE that his first round of chemo had gone so well that some of his tumors had shrunk by 50 percent. However, later in the summer, he said his numbers had gone back up, and he would undergo another round of chemo — the side effects of which can leave him feeling depleted and oftentimes, depressed.
Still, he prevailed.
“Sudden massive attacks of great depressions that made me wonder if it was really worth fighting on,” he says in the video. “But I brushed that aside quickly, because that would have been a massive betrayal — a betrayal of my wife and soulmate Jean, who has helped me survive. A betrayal of other cancer patients who have looked to me as an inspiration, and a cheerleader of sorts of the value of living and hope.”
He adds, “And it certainly would have been a betrayal of my faith in God and the millions of prayers that have been said on my behalf.”
Trebek also notes that though the two-year survival rate is only 7 percent, he sees no reason he can’t continue fighting the good fight and beating the odds — and he has a message for other fellow patients and survivors out there.
“So many of us are involved in this same situation,” he says. “If we take it just one day at a time with a positive attitude, anything is possible.”
The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) said Trebek opening up about his journey and spreading awareness about pancreatic cancer has been invaluable to the pancreatic cancer conversation.
“Throughout the past year, Trebek has transformed the conversation around pancreatic cancer and provided hope to people impacted by this disease,” they said in a statement, noting that his one-year survival mark was a significant milestone and an inspiration for others.
The organization also noted that in January, the five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer grew closer to 10 percent — the first time ever the statistic has been reported in the double digits.
And contrary to any rumors, the beloved game show host isn’t hanging up his hat anytime soon.
“He has no plans to quit, and is absolutely not announcing his retirement [anytime soon],” a coworker of Trebek told CTV News back in October.
“We’ll play it by ear and keep chugging along until we either win or lose,” Trebek said at the time.