Alex Trebek Clarifies That He Would 'Not Stop All Treatment' If His Current Cancer Regimen Fails
Alex Trebek clarified Wednesday that he would not “stop all treatment” for his stage 4 pancreatic cancer if his current regimen fails, after a quote from his new memoir about ending his treatment was widely shared last week.
The longtime Jeopardy! host, 80, had said in his book, The Answer Is …Reflections on My Life, which debuted on Tuesday, that he plans to stop his cancer treatment if his current round is unsuccessful. But, the Jeopardy! host explained on Twitter, that quote was written before he started a new, experimental immunotherapy treatment.
“I feel the need to clarify my quote that, if my course of cancer treatment does not continue to work, I would consider stopping treatment. That quote from the book was written BEFORE my current regimen, and I was going through some bad times,” Trebek said, via the Jeopardy! Twitter account.
Rather than stop his treatment entirely, Trebek, who was diagnosed in Feb. 2019, said he would undergo chemotherapy again.
“My current numbers are very good, but we will have to be patient with this new immunotherapy program that I am on. But, if it were to stop being successful, I would return to my previous chemo treatment — NOT stop all treatment,” he said. “I apologize for any confusion, and want everyone to know that I am optimistic about my current plan, and thank them for their concerns.”
Trebek is “currently doing well” on this experimental immunotherapy treatment, a rep for the star told PEOPLE last week. It is the same treatment that former Sen. Harry Reid — who is now in remission — followed for his own stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
“They do a blood test to see what my CA 19 numbers are,” Trebek said in an interview with Good Morning America on Monday. “And the CA 19 numbers are an indicator of how your pancreatic cancer is progressing. Eight weeks ago, the numbers were at about 3,500. Now, they’re below 100. So I’m going in the right direction.”
Trebek has said, though, that he has good days and bad days through the course of his treatment. He tells PEOPLE, in the latest issue, that his wife Jean has made it possible to keep going.
"She's kept me alive," he says. “If it weren’t for Jean, I’d have put myself out of this a long time ago.”