Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek revealed Tuesday that he must undergo more chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer because the progress he made after the first round was short-lived.
In a video message and an interview on Good Morning America, the 79-year-old said that his early treatment was so successful, he thought he was done with grueling chemo sessions.
“That was a bit premature and certainly over-optimistic,” he said in the video.
Doctors started him on a course of immunotherapy, but “that didn’t go very well,” he said. “My numbers went south—dramatically and quickly.”
Trebek was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, the most advanced kind, in March. The prognosis for the disease at that stage is grim—just 3 percent of patients survive for five years or longer.
When Trebek announced his diagnosis six months ago, he said he was determined to fight it. And he sounded a hopeful note again Tuesday as he disclosed he is back for more chemo.
“Hey, they worked very well the first time so we’re expecting good results again,” he told his fans. “But please keep me in your good thoughts and prayers.”
In his GMA interview, Trebek said he’s been battling depression and would get teary-eyed while filming the 35th season of Jeopardy! But, he said, he is not afraid of dying.
“I realize that there is an end in sight for me, just as there is for everyone else. One line that I have used with our staff in recent weeks and months is that when I do pass on, one thing they will not say at my funeral is, ‘Oh, he was taken from us too soon,’” Trebek said.
“The thought of passing on doesn’t frighten me, it doesn’t. Other things do, the effect it will have on my loved ones... it makes me sad. But the thought of myself moving on—Hey folks, it comes with the territory.”