LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Nearly three months after announcing that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek says he's responding extremely well to chemotherapy and is in “near remission,” according to his doctors.
“It's kind of mind-boggling,” Trebek told People magazine. “The doctors said they hadn't seen this kind of positive result in their memory ... some of the tumors have already shrunk by more than 50 percent.”
The 78-year-old game show host told the magazine that he is still undergoing chemotherapy treatments, but cried “tears of joy" when told how well he's responding to treatment for a cancer that has a survival rate of 9 percent.
He thanked his fans for their “good thoughts, their positive energy directed towards me and their prayers."
“I told the doctors, `This has to be more than just the chemo,' and they agreed it could very well be an important part of this," he said. “I've got a lot of love out there headed in my direction and a lot pf prayer, and I will never ever minimize the value of that.”
Trebek announced his cancer diagnosis in a YouTube video released March 6, saying he has a “longtime policy of being open and transparent” with fans of the show, and to prevent people “from reading or hearing some overblown or inaccurate reports regarding my health.” He returned to work six days later on the Sony lot in Culver City where the show is taped.
“Just like 50,000 other people in the United States each year, this week I was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer,” Trebek said in his initial announcement. “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.
“Truth told, I have to, because under the terms of my contract, I have to host `Jeopardy' for three more years,” he joked. “So help me. Keep the faith and we'll win. We'll get it done.”
A native of Canada and father of two, Trebek has hosted the syndicated answers-and-questions quiz show since 1984.
Photo: Getty Images