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Alex Trebek Battles Pancreatic Cancer: ‘His Faith in God’ Helped Him Beat 18% Survival Odds

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Alex Trebek was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer—the one-year survival rate is 18%. But, he has found the will to fight through his faith in God.


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Tré Goins-Phillips

Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek shared an emotional health update Wednesday, exactly one year after revealing his diagnosis with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

At the start of the video, Trebek said the one-year survival rate for patients suffering from his kind of cancer is 18%. While his journey to this milestone has been filled with both good and bad days, Trebek said, he has found the will to fight through his faith in God and the prayers of millions of people around the world.

“There were moments of great pain, days when certain bodily functions no longer functioned, and sudden, massive attacks of great depression that made me wonder if it really was worth fighting on,” he explained.

The 79-year-old Trebek, though, said he “brushed that aside quickly” because he didn’t want to betray his wife, “who has given her all to help me survive,” or his faith in God.

“It would have been a betrayal of other cancer patients who have looked to me as an inspiration and a cheerleader of sorts of the value of living and hope,” the game show host said. “And it would certainly have been a betrayal of my faith in God and the millions of prayers that have been said on my behalf.”

This is not the first time Trebek has spoken so openly about his mental health.

In October, he opened up during an interview with CTV News anchor Lisa La Flamme, telling her he is “nearing the end” of his life. While he did go through a season of deep depression, Trebek told La Flamme he doesn’t fear death: “Why should I be afraid of that?”

Trebek said his oncologist told him the two-year survival rate for people with stage 4 pancreatic cancer is only 7%. With that in mind, though, Trebek said his doctor told him he’s “certain that, one year from now, the two of us would be sitting in his office celebrating my second anniversary of survival.”

“If we take it just one day at a time, with a positive attitude, anything is possible,” Trebek added. “I’ll keep you posted.”