Alex Trebek shares candid health update on 1-year mark of his cancer diagnosis: ‘There were moments of great pain’

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Alex Trebek is marking the year since he was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer by sharing an update on his health with Jeopardy! fans.

On Wednesday, the beloved game show host posted a video announcing that he’d beaten the odds to reach a year post-diagnosis; those with his condition have an 18 percent survival rate one year on.

Alex Trebek got candid about his cancer fight in a video to fans. (Photo: Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty Images)
Alex Trebek got candid about his cancer fight in a video to fans. (Photo: Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty Images)
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The 79-year-old told fans that he was “very happy” to have reached the one-year mark, but “I’d be lying if I said the journey had been an easy one.” Trebek went on to speak frankly about the toll his cancer battle had taken.

“There were some good days, but a lot of not-so-good days,” he said, speaking from the Jeopardy! set. “I joked with friends that the cancer won’t kill me, the chemo treatments will.

“There were moments of great pain,” the Canadian star continued, “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.

“But I brushed that aside quickly because that would have been a massive betrayal, a betrayal of my wife and soulmate, Jean, who has given her all to help me survive,” he shared. “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. 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.”

Trebek referenced his wife Jean (pictured with him in 2014) in his powerful speech. (Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images for AFI)
Trebek referenced his wife Jean (pictured with him in 2014) in his powerful speech. (Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images for AFI)

Despite his progress, Trebek acknowledged that the odds are once again against him as he fights to survive another year. Still, he remains optimistic that “anything is possible.”

“You know, my oncologist tried to cheer me up the other day,” he shared. “He said, ‘Alex, even though the two-year survival rate is only seven percent,’ he was certain that one year from now the two of us would be sitting in his office, celebrating my second anniversary of survival. And you know something? If I — no, if we, because so many of us are involved in this same situation — if we take it just one day at a time, with a positive attitude, anything is possible.”

Trebek — whose message has since been received with a flood of well wishes — signed off with a promise to keep his supporters posted.

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