Alex Trebek shares update 1 year after stage 4 pancreatic cancer diagnosis

The "Jeopardy!" host spoke honestly about enduring "attacks of depression" as he reached one year since being diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
/ Source: TODAY

Alex Trebek spoke about enduring "attacks of great depression" and "moments of great pain" as he crossed the one-year mark since being diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

The legendary "Jeopardy!" host shared a video update on his health Wednesday in which he remained upbeat and hopeful for the future despite facing daunting odds of survival.

"The one-year survival rate for stage 4 pancreatic cancer patients is 18%,'' he said. "I'm very happy to report, I have just reached that marker.

"Now I'd be lying if I said the journey had been an easy one. There were some good days, but a lot of not-so-good days. I joked with friends that the cancer won't kill me, the chemo treatments will."

Trebek, 79, spoke openly about the obstacles he has faced in the past year, which have also included losing his hair and struggling to enunciate.

"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 said.

The support of his wife, with whom he will celebrate 30 years of marriage next month, has helped keep him going.

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

"Jeopardy!" fans and contestants have also lifted his spirits with kind gestures in the past year. In addition, Trebek has gained strength from others with pancreatic cancer while serving as as a passionate supporter in helping to raise money to fight the disease.

"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,'' he said.

He also expressed hope for next year despite some grim statistics about surviving stage 4 pancreatic cancer for two years.

"You know, my oncologist tried to cheer me up the other day,'' Trebek said. "He said, 'Alex, even though the two-year survival rate is only 7%, 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."