Alex Trebek Talks Ups and Downs of Cancer Treatment

Stewart Cook/ABC
Alex Trebek

"I'm going in the right direction," the 'Jeopardy!' host said in an emotional interview that aired on 'Good Morning America' on Monday.

Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek says he always takes into account both the good and bad days as he continues to battle stage-four pancreatic cancer. In an socially-distanced in-person interview with Good Morning America’s T.J. Holmes that aired on Monday morning's edition of the ABC morning show, the 80-year-old TV personality talked about the emotional rollercoaster of his treatment and his latest update.

“I’m going in the right direction,” Trebek said of his cancer indicator numbers, which have dropped from 35,000 to under 100 in just eight weeks.

"The doctors have said they have never seen a chart like mine because there are peaks," Trebek, who's undergoing an experimental immunotherapy treatment, continued. "I said, ‘What do you mean — you don’t see that often? What do you usually see?’ They usually see it going up. I’m a bit of an anomaly.”

In March 2019, the Jeopardy! host revealed his cancer diagnosis. Since then he has voiced his intentions to beat the illness and has kept fans and viewers updated on his health.

But while his current status may be cause for celebration, Trebek shared that his journey has been far from easy. Since his diagnosis, the TV host has shared public updates. In a March update, the host said he experienced moments of great pain” where he has questioned the need to continue fighting.

“I feel like I wanna die,” Trebek said he remembered telling his wife a few weeks ago. “It was that bad.”

He went on to highlight his wife Jean's solid devotion to his health and recovery, dubbing her a “saint,” as he got emotional. He explained that he apologizes to her when he voices out his pain or wishes of dying and reassures her that how he’s feeling has nothing to do with his love for her. Instead it’s about how he feels about being constantly waited on.

“It just has to do with the fact that I feel like a terrible burden to her and that bothers me tremendously,” he said.

Trebek also spoke to Holmes about returning to the Jeopardy! set to film new episodes in a matter of weeks, noting that he misses the job. When asked whether it had ever crossed his mind that he had already filmed his last episode, Trebek said he had never thought about it. However, he said he intends to live long enough to celebrate his two years of cancer survival in February 2021.

That said, Trebek admits that if treatment doesn't work, he's “not going to go to any extraordinary measures to ensure my survival.”

The host topped off the interview talking about his upcoming memoir, The Answer Is …: Reflections On My Life, noting that it will allow audience members to see a different side of him. The book also touches upon Trebek's will to survive, which he says keeps him from tying up loose ends now.

"I know exactly what I need to do but I have yet to do it. So there's something in the back of my mind that says 'Woah hold on a second, maybe you'll be around for a little while longer,'" he said.

Watch the GMA interview below.