Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek talks about cancer challenges he's facing in new interview

Posted at 7:51 AM, Oct 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-07 10:57:56-04

Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek opened up about mortality, a new round of chemotherapy and the indecision over going public with his cancer fight in a new CTV interview.

"There’s a little too much Alex Trebek out there," the notoriously humble host told CTV News' Lisa LaFlamme on the challenges he’s experienced since going public with his diagnosis of stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

"A lot of people are coming to me and looking for help, reassurance, and that’s tough," he said.

(MORE: How 'Jeopardy!' is a beloved constant in Alex Trebek's life amid cancer setback)

Since Trebek was first diagnosed in March, the game show host has become a spokesperson for pancreatic cancer, and he realizes the responsibility that comes with that when talking to others who are sick.

He said it was difficult "trying to be as optimistic as you can when the other person feels none of that. … They feel only despair."

"I don’t know if I was strong enough or intelligent enough to help alleviate that despair," he revealed.

In September, Trebek told "Good Morning America" that he would be undergoing another round of chemotherapy after his numbers sky-rocketed right after finishing his first round of treatment for cancer.

(MORE: 'Jeopardy!' host Alex Trebek says he is undergoing chemotherapy again after 'numbers went sky high')

On CTV News, he said that he’s "hangin’ in" to see if the numbers go down and that he’ll "play it by ear and keep chugging along until we either win or lose."

The long-time game-show host spoke to LaFlamme before an appearance on Friday at the University of Ottawa, where they announced that Trebek would be donating $2.1 million for the Alex Trebek Forum for Dialogue, which seeks to "enrich and broaden public debate" -- something that he feels is at risk in certain parts of the world.

"Democracy is at risk in many other countries of the world. Nationalism has come to the forefront," he said.

The university has a special place in his heart because it’s also his alma mater. Over the years, he’s donated over $9.5 million to the institution and talked about how important it was to give back.

With all of the hurdles that Trebek is facing, he said he’s trying to maintain a positive outlook and that a lot of his strength comes from his wife, who is always there for him when he’s "going through a bad experience."

"One of my concerns is the effect it has on her," he said.

He also worries about the toll his fight is taking on their two children.

"They were upset when they first learned about it, but they look at me and they don't see too many changes in me, you know," he said. "So it's not like, 'Oh god, he's deteriorating before our very eyes.'"

Trebek said he’s lived a full life but hopes he’ll live to become a grandfather.

“It does bother me that I might pass on before I get to have a grandchild. Hint, hint,” he joked.

Reflecting on his life, the 79-year-old TV host said, "I’ve lived a good life, a full life, and I’m nearing the end of that life. … If it happens, why should I be afraid of that?"

(MORE: 'Jeopardy' host Alex Trebek has stage 4 pancreatic cancer, but vows, 'I’m going to fight this')