Alex Trebek has said he’s “hanging in” there after a second round of chemotherapy for his pancreatic cancer, but the Jeopardy! host is also knows there’s a very real chance the diagnosis ends his time on the show.
Trebek, who is currently on the air as Season 36 of the syndicated show continues, spoke with CTV’s Lisa LaFlamme about his condition as he battles Stage IV pancreatic cancer. The interview took place at the University of Ottawa, his alma mater, and while he remained optimistic about his diagnosis and treatment, he did discuss at length the impact chemotherapy has had on his body, including his ability to speak while Jeopardy! host.
Trebek told CTV he has begun to get sores inside his mouth from the chemotherapy, which makes it difficult to enunciate. He sometimes hears himself slurring his words on the quiz show, he said.
“I will keep doing it (the show) as long as my skills do not diminish, and they have started to diminish,” he told CTV’s Lisa LaFlamme in an interview Friday.
One of the more heartbreaking portions of the interview was when Trebek revealed that he now regrets being so public about his diagnosis because of the mental toll it’s taken on him. It’s a sad reality, but Trebek said that so many people have reached out and shared their own stories, and the impact on his mental health has been tough while he’s dealing with his own setbacks and health issues.
“I don’t know if I’m strong enough or intelligent enough to help alleviate some of that despair, so it’s tough on me,” he said.
But Trebek is facing his diagnosis head on, saying he is not afraid of death.
“The thought of the pancreatic cancer does not frighten me,” he told LaFlamme. “I’m 79 years old. So, hey, I’ve lived a good life, a full life, and I’m nearing the end of that life. I know that.”
Trebek has thanked his supporters again and again since he revealed the diagnosis earlier in the year, so he’s far from ungrateful for all the kind words. But it’s clear he’s being frank when asked about his cancer battle, one that’s playing out in a very public way. Hopefully he recovers enough to continue living as comfortable a life as possible, regardless of whether he continues to host Jeopardy! or not.