Alex Trebek Undergoing Chemotherapy Again Following Hopes of Remission

Alex Trebek, host of the popular trivia game show “Jeopardy,” first announced in March that he had been diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. He was optimistic about the diagnosis, vowing to beat the odds and joking that he had to in order to fulfill his contract with “Jeopardy.” “Jeopardy” does not film for the summer, and using the time off to recuperate, he underwent chemotherapy for the first time, wearing a wig in public to compensate for the effects. In May, Trebek announced in interviews that he was finished with chemotherapy and looking into immunotherapy, and that he was near remission. Heshared with People magazine that his tumors had shrunk. Harry Friedman, “Jeopardy” producer and long-time colleague of Trebek said in support “Alex is remarkable in many ways, not the least of which is he’s got an iron will and an unequaled determination to beat this. He underwent several rounds of chemo and that brought his numbers down.”

However, it appears he might have gotten people’s hopes up too soon. As of Sept. 17, Trebek, who turned 79 in July, stated in a video update, “This summer, because I was making such good progress, we thought I was finished with chemo. That was a bit premature and certainly overoptimistic. I began immunotherapy, but that didn’t go well. My numbers went south, dramatically and quickly. The doctors are now re-examining my situation and, it appears, I will be having more chemo treatments ahead of me.” He continued, “Hey, they worked very well the first time, so we’re expecting good results again.”

Although this is not good news, Trebek and concerned fans of “Jeopardy” remain hopeful. Trebek has received praise for being so open about each stage of treatment, including the grim side-effects of chemotherapy. As of now, the show is continuing to film and air episodes, and Trebek is remaining in his position as host. There is some concern that reporting painted Trebek’s account of how things were going at the time as medical fact, rather than a trend that Trebek and others hoped would continue. This kind of reporting without consulting medical professionals familiar or involved with the case has the potential to lead followers of the story to believe Trebek was cured, when in reality he had not been. In the video update, Trebek acknowledges that cancer has its ups and downs, and asks everyone to “Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers, it really means a lot.”

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