Alex Trebek clarifies he's not stopping cancer treatment if current program doesn't work
UPDATE: Alex Trebek wants concerned fans to know that he is not giving up on his cancer treatment, clarifying that he would return to chemotherapy rather than stop treatment if his current immunotherapy program is unsuccessful.
"I feel the need to clarify my quote that, if my course of cancer treatment does not continue to work, I would consider stopping treatment," Trebek wrote in a statement posted on social media. "That quote from the book was written BEFORE my current regimen, and I was going through some bad times. My current numbers are very good, but we will have to be patient with this new immunotherapy program that I am on. But, if it were to stop being successful, I would return to my previous chemo treatment — NOT stop all treatment. I apologize for any confusion, and want everyone to know that I am optimistic about my current plan, and thank them for their concerns."
Earlier: Alex Trebek has come to a decision about his battle with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
In his memoir The Answer Is..., released on Tuesday, the longtime Jeopardy! host writes, "I'm going to stick with this current protocol, then that's it. If it doesn't work I'll probably stop treatment." Recalling his announcement of this to his family, Trebek adds, "It wasn't an easy conversation, and it isn't any easier writing these words. Quality of life was an important consideration."
Trebek, who is undergoing an experimental immunotherapy treatment, is currently seeing good results, however. "I'm going in the right direction," he said in an interview on Good Morning America on Monday, noting that his cancer indicator numbers have fallen from 3,500 to under 100 in eight weeks. "The doctors have said they have never seen a chart like mine because there are peaks. I said, ‘What do you mean — you don’t see that often? What do you usually see?’ They usually see it going up. I’m a bit of an anomaly."
In the interview, Trebek reiterated that he currently has no intention of stepping down from hosting Jeopardy!, saying that the thought that he might have already filmed his last episode of the quiz show has "never crossed [his] mind."
He also spoke further about his decision to stop treatment should his cancer not respond to the current program. "I'll just continue with chemo and see what happens, but I'm not going to go to any extraordinary measures to ensure my survival," Trebek said. He emphasized that he has good and bad days, and became emotional when discussing the effect of his illness on his family, particularly his wife of 30 years, Jean.
"There was one day a few weeks ago when Jeanie asked me in the morning, 'How do you feel?' And I said, 'I feel like I want to die.' It was that bad," Trebek said. "I apologized to her and explained that it has nothing to do with my love for her or my feelings for her. It just has to do with the fact that I feel like I'm a terrible burden to her. And that bothers me tremendously."
"She says, 'You're not a burden,'" he continued. "She's a saint.... There have been some difficult moments, and I'm just in awe of the way she handles it."
You can watch the full interview above.
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