Alex Trebek Reveals His Worst Days with Pancreatic Cancer. One Was on Air.

Since Jeopardy host Alex Trebek revealed he has stage 4 pancreatic cancer, fans and contestants have reached out to him with their support. That includes the Television Critics Association when Trebek sat on a panel for Jeopardy: The Greatest of All Time, this week’s contest between the game show’s biggest winners James Holzhauer, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter.

Jeopardy's Alex Trebek
Alex Trebek | Sony Pictures Entertainment

Trebek addressed his cancer diagnosis when a reporter asked for a health update. It was not good news per se, and Trebek did not sugar coat it but he faced it with poise and hope. He said, “I have good days and bad days” and went on to describe both. 

Cancer treatment left Alex Trebek vulnerable to the common cold

The day of the TCA panel may have been one of the lesser days. Alex Trebek’s voice was froggy because he was still getting over a cold. Normally he could kick a cold quickly, but because of his cancer treatments, his resistance to common viruses has diminished.

Alex Trebek speaks about cancer at TCA
Alex Trebek | ABC/Stewart Cook

“Some days are better than others,” Trebek began. “My resistance is lower than most of you, of course, because of the treatments I’ve been having, the chemotherapy. And as you can tell, I have the cold that seems to be going around, but this is the second time I’ve had it in the past month and a half.”

This has improved for Alex Trebek

There was one bright spot in Alex Trebek’s medical report. His doctors modified his chemotherapy treatment, leading to a slight improvement in vitality.

“They’ve got me off one of my chemo drugs, which was killing me,” Trebek said. 

This episode of ‘Jeopardy’ was one of his bad days

When speaking about his potential retirement, Alex Trebek said he would make that call when he felt he could no longer perform his duties as Jeopardy’s host. That hasn’t happened yet, but he noticed a slow down during The Greatest of All Time.

“During this tournament, because I saw all the shows after they were edited, I mentioned to my wife, ‘Did you notice anything about the way I handled the shows?’ And she said, ‘I didn’t notice anything at all.’ And I said, ‘Well, I did. I seemed a little slower in the ad lib portions.’”

Alex Trebek on Jeopardy
Alex Trebek on Jeopardy | ABC/Eric McCandless

Trebek still felt he could handle the game portion of Jeopardy but felt his banter with the contestants was beginning to suffer.

“I could still deliver the clues at a rapid pace to try to keep up with these three bright contestants, but I feel that I was not having one of my best weeks,” Trebek said. “So some weeks are good, and some weeks are bad. But hey, it comes with the territory.”

There’s still some uncertainty for Alex Trebek

Alex Trebek is still awaiting more medical news. On January 8 he said he was having more tests, the results of which would take even longer to find out.

“I won’t know till tomorrow I go in for some tests, and then maybe another week or so before I find out where things stand,” Trebek said.