Alex Trebek is keeping his pledge to be open and honest during his battle with cancer.
The longtime Jeopardy! host, who was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer in March, revealed he is undergoing another round of chemotherapy after having declared himself “near remission” over the summer.
Despite promising test results, Trebek said in a Good Morning America interview that aired Tuesday morning, he began to lose weight at a rapid pace after stopping chemo and starting immunotherapy. He said his numbers “went sky high, much higher than they were when I was first diagnosed. So, the doctors have decided that I have to undergo chemo again, and that’s what I’m doing."
Trebek said the cancer was affecting his body in different ways. Sometimes, it’s in the form of “excruciating pain” in his back. Other times it’s fatigue or nausea, or a “surge of sadness” brought on by depression that he said he has learned to cope with.
“When it happened early on, I was down on myself. … I didn’t realize how fallible each of is in his or her own way,” Trebek said. “I talk to the audience sometimes and I get teary-eyed for no reason. I don’t even bother to explain it anymore, I just experience it. I know it’s a part of who I am and I just keep going.”
Despite the setback, and the grim prognosis Trebek faces (the five-year survival rate is 3 percent), the longtime host hasn’t missed a day of work and is in the middle of filming Jeopardy!’s 36th season, which premiered earlier this month.
“The thing I suppose that gives me the most optimism is that, hey, I’m still here. I don’t feel terrible” Trebek said. “When I do pass on, one thing they will not say at my funeral is ‘Oh, he was taken from us too soon.’ Hey, guys, I’m 79 years old, I’ve had one hell of a good life, and I’ve enjoyed it. And the thought of passing on doesn’t frighten me. It doesn’t.”