Alex Trebek clarifies comment about stopping cancer treatment

"That quote from the book was written BEFORE my current regimen, and I was going through some bad times," the longtime "Jeopardy!" host said.
Image: Alex Trebek
Alex Trebek attends the 150th anniversary of Canada's Confederation at the Official Residence of Canada on June 30, 2017 in Los Angeles.Emma McIntyre / Getty Images file

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By Gwen Aviles

"Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek clarified a statement from his recent memoir in which he wrote that he would consider forgoing his cancer treatment if it stopped working.

"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 said in a statement posted to official "Jeopardy!"social media accounts Wednesday. "That quote from the book was written BEFORE my current regimen, and I was going through some bad times."

Trebek, who revealed he'd been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer in 2019, added that his "current numbers" are "very good" thanks to a immunotherapy program he's been following, but that if his current treatment "stopped being successful," he would return to his previous chemotherapy treatment, "NOT stop all treatment."

Trebek was referring to CA 19-9 numbers. The amount of this protein in a patient's blood is an indicator of how their pancreatic cancer is progressing, according to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

"I apologize for any confusion, and want everyone to know that I am optimistic about my current plan and thank them for their concerns," Trebek said.

In his memoir "The Answer Is...," which was released on Tuesday, the longtime "Jeopardy!" host wrote that he planned to "stick with this current protocol" and that if it didn't work he'd "probably stop treatment."

Trebek also recalls announcing this decision to his family, stating that difficult conversations ensued.

"It wasn't an easy conversation, and it isn't any easier writing these words," Trebek wrote in the memoir. "Quality of life was an important consideration."

Since revealing his diagnosis, Trebek has worked to bring greater awareness to pancreatic cancer. In October, he released a 60-second public service announcement in support of the World Pancreatic Cancer Coalition in which he detailed the risks and the symptoms of the disease, which can include new onset diabetes, unexplained weight loss, the yellowing of the skin or eyes and midback pain.