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Alex Trebek shares "mind-boggling" update on his pancreatic cancer

CBS News logo CBS News 5/29/2019 Jason Silverstein
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What is "mind-boggling"? This good news from "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek.

The game show star says he is "near remission" less than three months after announcing his diagnosis of stage 4 pancreatic cancer — an illness with a five-year survival rate of only 9 percent. Trebek called his positive response to chemotherapy "kind of mind-boggling."

"The doctors said they hadn't seen this kind of positive result in their memory," Trebek told People, adding that some of his tumors "have already shrunk by more than 50 percent."

Trebek, 79, says the progress brought him "tears of joy." He still has several more rounds of chemotherapy before the cancer could go into full remission.

Trebek credited much of his progress to the support from millions of "Jeopardy!" fans.

"I've got a couple million people out there who have expressed their good thoughts, their positive energy directed towards me and their prayers," he told People. "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."

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Trebek revealed his diagnosis in early March, and said he planned to keep working and fighting the illness even though the odds were against him. "Keep the faith and we'll win. We'll get it done," he said in a video announcement. 

This month, he opened up to "CBS Sunday Morning" about the excruciating pain he has endured while sticking to his job. He said that in between taping two "Jeopardy!" shows, he was writhing in pain and crying in his dressing room.

"But I got through it," he said. "And the producers were very kind. They said, 'Look, if you don't wanna do the show we'll just cancel taping.' I said, 'No. We're here. We're doing the shows.'"

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