“Just like 50,000 other people in the United States each year,” Trebek said, “this week, I was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.”
He continued, “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.”
According to the American Cancer Society, for all the stages of pancreatic cancer, there is a one-year relative survival rate of 20 percent. The five-year rate falls to 9 percent.
Despite the rare odds of beating the disease, the 78-year-old joked that he is contractually obligated to continue to be the face of the game show.
“Truth told, I have to! Because under the terms of my contract, I have to host ‘Jeopardy!’ for three more years!” he said. “So help me. Keep the faith and we’ll win. We’ll get it done. Thank you.”
Trebek became the host of the classic game show in 1984 and has since presided over more than 7,000 episodes. Due to the longstanding relationship with the brand and his fans, he wanted to be the one to reveal his diagnosis.
There are no details on if or when he will step down from the show to focus on his health.
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Christina Santi is a news and culture writer for EBONY.com. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, she considers herself a well-read, not so traditional feminist with a heavy interest in music, fashion and pop culture. Christina currently lives in New York City, where she refers to her Cuban & Jamaican descent often while writing about her experiences as a first-generation Afro-Latinx in America. She also devotes time writing personalized reading material for her tutees and turning ideas into words for streetwear brand, PUER By Noel Bronson.