‘Jeopardy!’ Host Alex Trebek Reveals He Has Not Yet Made These End of Life Plans
One and a half years since Alex Trebek received a diagnosis of Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, the Jeopardy! host remains open about his ongoing treatment. That sometimes means having difficult conversations, like when he said he already knows how he’s going to handle his final show. For now, Trebek is ready to work as soon as the game show goes back into production, but there’s one part of his prognosis he has not yet addressed.
Trebek spoke with Good Morning America reporter T.J. Holmes about his autobiography, The Answer Is…: Reflections On My Life. He gave Holmes the latest update on his cancer treatment and revealed one aspect of planning he’s putting off. Jeopardy! is currently on hiatus due to coronavirus (COVID-19) production shutdowns.
This is the last kind of treatment Alex Trebek is going to try
Trebek is undergoing experimental immunotherapy. The same therapy was successful for Harry Reid. However, if it doesn’t work for Trebek, the Jeopardy! host says he’s just going to stick with the basics.
“I’ll just continue with chemo and see what happens,” Trebek told Holmes. “I’m not going to go to any extraordinary measures to ensure my survival.”
Trebek had that conversation with his family first. While denying further treatment may entail allowing cancer to slowly take its course, Trebek found his loved ones supportive.
“Tough to explain it to them,” Trebek said. “They handled it so beautifully. They understand that there is a certain element regarding quality of life. If the quality of life is not there, it’s hard sometimes to push and just say, ‘Well, I’m going to keep going even though I’m miserable.'”
The prognosis is good for Alex Trebek
Trebek explained the immunotherapy and it indicates he is making progress. Unlike on Jeopardy!, he got right to the point.
They do a blood test to see what my CA 19 numbers are. CA 19 numbers are an indicator of how your pancreatic cancer is progressing. Eight weeks ago, the numbers were at about 3500. Now they’re below 100. So I’m going in the right direction. The doctors have said they have never seen a chart like mine because there are peaks. I said, ‘What do you mean you don’t see that that often? What do you usually see?’ They usually see it going up. I’m a bit of an anomaly.Alex Trebek on Good Morning America, 7/20/2020
Despite the good news, Trebek still has difficult days. He still accepts this could go either way.
“I’m on the right track,” Trebek said. “As I mentioned earlier, there are good days and there are bad days. I take into account the bad days. Now the pessimist in me is coming out as opposed to the optimist.”
The big task ‘Jeopardy!’ host Alex Trebek keeps putting off
Trebek is considering his treatment options and how to handle the eventual end of his Jeopardy! career, but he is still avoiding making end of life arrangements. He implied those would be prudent given he is facing cancer. He is also 80 years old, so it would not be uncommon to begin planning wills and funeral arrangements. Something keeps telling him to hold off though.
“I keep putting it off,” Trebek said. “It’s amazing. I’ve said to myself hey, better start getting your affairs in order. I know exactly what I need to do but I have yet to do it. So there’s something in the back of my mind that says, ‘Whoa, hold on a second. Maybe you’re going to be around for a little while longer.’”