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Alex Trebek Says He Is in Chemotherapy Again in Ongoing Battle with Pancreatic Cancer

The beloved Jeopardy! host offered a harrowing update on his battle with cancer

Amanda Bell

BelovedJeopardy! host Alex Trebek has revealed another update on his battle with pancreatic cancer, and this time, it's not the good news fans might have been hoping to hear. After returning to work on Season 36 of the iconic game show, Trebek told ABC News' T.J. Holmes that he is undergoing a new round of chemotherapy treatment after experiencing a setback with his test results.

"I was doing so well, and my numbers went down to the equivalent of a normal human being who does not have pancreatic cancer, so we were all very optimistic. And they said, 'Good, we're going to stop chemo. We're going to start you on immunotherapy,'" Trebek explained, in a segment featured on Good Morning America. "I lost about 12 pounds in a week, and my numbers went sky-high. Much higher than they were when I was first diagnosed. So, the doctors have decided that I have to undergo chemo again. And that's what I'm doing."

Trebek previously revealed his positive response to chemotherapy in May, announcing that he was then in remission with some of his tumors having shrunk by more than 50 percent. However, he'd also been quite candid about the difficulties of the treatment regimen on his emotional well-being, admitting that it left him feeling a "deep, deep sadness" throughout the process.

In his new interview, Trebek explained that some similar feelings were occurring again during this current round of treatment and that he was also experiencing varying forms of physical pain as a result of his condition.

"Occasionally, it will cause excruciating pain in my lower back. Other times, it's fatigue. Other times, it's nausea. It varies. Cancer is mysterious in more ways than one," he said. "There are moments when, for no reason at all, I feel this surge of sadness and depression. It doesn't last very long, but it just takes over my whole being for a short period of time. And I understand it more now, so I can deal with it a lot better than I did before. When it happened early on, I was down on myself. I said, 'Hey, you shouldn't be reacting this way.' I didn't realize how fallible each of us is in his or her own way. I just experience it. I know that it's part of who I am, and I'm going to just keep going."

Trebek vowed that he would not be leaving his hosting post on the Jeopardy! stage during his new round of chemotherapy -- "As long as I can walk out and greet the audience and contestants and run the game, I'm happy," he said -- but he conceded that he has also had conversations with his staff on the show about what will happen if the treatment is ultimately unsuccessful.

"I enjoy what's going on now. 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.' Hey, guys, I'm 79 years old. I've had one hell of a good life, and I've enjoyed it, and the thought of passing on doesn't frighten me. It doesn't," he said. "Other things do -- the effect it will have on my loved ones, yes, that bothers me, makes me sad. But the thought of myself moving on? Hey, folks, comes with the territory."

Trebek first announced his diagnosis of stage 4 pancreatic cancer in March. According to Holmes, Trebek is expecting another update on the efficacy of his latest round of chemotherapy this week.

​Alex Trebek

Alex Trebek

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