Alex Trebek says he is in “near remission,” nearly three months after announcing he been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
The beloved Jeopardy! game show host described his results as “mind-boggling” in an interview for this week’s cover of People magazine. He told People that he cried when the doctors told him the news, “But they were tears of joy, not tears of depression.”
Trebek, 78, said some of his “tumors have already shrunk by 50%.”
“The doctors say they haven’t seen this kind of result in memory,” he said. “I told the doctors, ‘This has to be more than just the chemo.’”
He credited his progress in fighting the cancer to the outpouring of love and prayers he received from Jeopardy! fans. The doctors, Trebek said, “agreed that could very well be a part of this.”
Pancreatic cancer is considered largely incurable by doctors. According to the American Cancer Society, the five-year survival rate is just 7%. Unlike many other types of cancer, there has been virtually no improvement in survival rates since the 1970s. This is largely because it is very difficult to diagnose until after the tumors have spread beyond the point of removal.
Trebek first announced his cancer diagnosis in March, saying at the time, “just like 50,000 other people in the United States each year, this week I was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. 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 was met immediately by words of support from many people, including fellow game show hosts and notable Jeopardy! contestants.