Alex Trebek Returns to Work following a Lightning Round with Pancreatic Cancer

Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek is returning to work after completing chemotherapy during his cancer treatment. The Season 36 will premiere Monday, Sept. 9.



Trebek, who celebrated his 79th birthday in July, said, “It’s another day at the office,” in his generally underrated manner. “I’ve gone through a lot of chemotherapy. … I’m on the mend, and that’s all I can hope for.”

The Canada native, who has been the host of Jeopardy! since 1984, revealed in March that he had been diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer. “I’m going to fight this, and I’m going to keep working,” he said. “And with the love and support of my family and friends and with the help of your prayers also, I plan to beat the low survival rate statistics for this disease.”

Despite the disheartening survival rate for Stage IV pancreatic cancer, Trebek told People magazine for its June 10 edition that “the doctors said they hadn’t seen this kind of positive result in their memory … some of the tumors have already shrunk by more than 50 percent.” (1)

According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 1.6 percent of men and women will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, based on 2013-15 data. For 2011-15 cases and deaths, the number of new cases of pancreatic cancer was 12.6 per 100,000 men and women per year. The number of deaths was 10.9 per 100,000 men and women per year. (2)

In 2018, there were an estimated 44,330 deaths from pancreatic cancer, which accounted for 7.3% of all cancer deaths. The 5-year survival rate for the various stage of pancreatic cancer range from 34.3% (Stage I) to 5.5% (Stage IV).

Because of the deep location of the pancreas, tumors of the gland are rarely able to be felt by pressing on the abdomen. This is why most symptoms of pancreatic cancer do not appear until the tumor has grown large enough to interfere with the function of the pancreas or other nearby organs such as the stomach, duodenum, liver, or gallbladder. (3)

“We have some exciting things coming up, and I can’t wait to share them with all of you,” Trebek said. “Let me tell you, it’s going to be a good year.”



(1) Gillian Telling. Alex Trebek Reveals Some of His Tumors Have Shrunk by 50 Percent: ‘It’s Kind of Mind-Boggling.’

(2) National Cancer Institute

(3) Johns Hopkins Medicine. What is the pancreas?

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