Alex Trebek announced to the world in early March that he has stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
He put up a brave front and even joked about his prospects saying, “my contract requires me to be doing Jeopardy through 2022.”
Unfortunately, the prognosis is not good for the 78-year-old game show host.
Trebek released the following statement:
“Now normally, the prognosis for this is not very encouraging, but I’m going to fight this, and I’m going to keep working. And with the love and support of my family and friends, and with the help of your prayers also, I plan to beat the low survival-rate statistics for this disease.”
A Message from Alex Trebek: pic.twitter.com/LbxcIyeTCF
— Jeopardy! (@Jeopardy) March 6, 2019
This is a scary and aggressive cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society, the five-year relative survival rate for stage 4, or “distant,” pancreatic cancer is 3%, based on those diagnosed between 2008 and 2014.
What are the signs of pancreatic cancer?
- Abdominal Pain
The most commonly occurring sign of pancreatic cancer is a pain in the abdomen.
About 70 percent of pancreatic cancer patients experience this symptom at some level.
When cancer affects the nerves and other organs near the pancreas, it causes discomfort, ranging from mild cramps to severe pain.
You may notice that the pain is worse whenever you sit or lie down.
In the early stages, the discomfort can come and go throughout the day.
However, as the disease progresses, it becomes more constant and increases in severity.
2. Weight Loss
Pancreatic cancer patients often lose weight unexpectedly.
You may also notice a change in your appetite and typical eating patterns.
You may feel abnormally full, even after eating small amounts, which can lead you to eat less than you normally do.
Pancreatic cancer can affect the ability of the pancreas to produce digestive enzymes that help to digest food, especially those that are high in fat.
This means that your body can’t digest food properly and is not able to absorb all of the nutrients.
Over time, this can result in significant weight loss.
If you are having trouble maintaining a healthy weight, you should see your doctor right away, as this symptom likely signals a larger health issue.
Jaundice is the medical term for yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes.
It occurs in about half of pancreatic cancer cases.
Other signs of jaundice can include dark urine, pale stools, and itchy skin.
Jaundice is a direct result of a build-up of bilirubin, a by-product of red blood cells.
Bilirubin usually is present in the bloodstreams of all healthy people, but growing cancer can block the bile ducts, causing it to build up to extreme levels.
The condition does not cause any pain, but it can be indicative of pancreatic cancer or another disease.
You should seek medical attention immediately if you notice signs of jaundice.
4. Nausea and Vomiting
Nausea and vomiting can occur throughout all stages of pancreatic cancer.
A pancreatic tumor can block the bile duct or press on the duodenum, affecting digestion.
It may also cause inflammation in the pancreas.
Both of these effects can lead to chemical imbalances in the body, which can make you feel nauseous.
Of course, nausea can accompany a wide range of illnesses, so it is essential to document any other symptoms you are experiencing along with it.
5. Blood Clots
Sometimes, the first clue that you have pancreatic cancer is the development of blood clots in large veins, typically in the leg.
This is called deep vein thrombosis, or DVT.
Symptoms can include pain, swelling, redness, and warmth in the affected area.
Sometimes, a piece of the clot can break off and travel to the lungs, making it hard to breathe and possibly causing chest pain.
Trebek holds the Guinness World Records title for the most game show episodes hosted by the same person and has won five Daytime Emmy Awards for best game-show host, according to the show’s official website.
We do wish him well in this battle.