Alex Trebek plans to ‘beat’ pancreatic cancer. The odds aren’t in his favor, specialists say

Alex Trebek, the long-term host of “Jeopardy!,” plans to beat the low survival rate of pancreatic cancer.

The chances, however, aren’t to support him, specialists told on Wednesday.

Patients diagnosed at stage 4 live an average of 12 to 15 months, said Dr. Timothy Donahue, professor of surgery, chief of surgical oncology and a pancreatic surgeon at UCLA. The 78-year-old Trebek, meanwhile, said he wants to keep hosting “Jeopardy!” through his contract that ends in 2022.

About 91 percent of pancreatic cancer patients die within five years after diagnosis, according to the Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research. But as Trebek tries to get the most effective chemotherapy for his particular tumor, Donahue said that working will help his health

“It’s best for them to try and continue their normal lives as much as possible,” Donahue said. “It keeps their spirits up when combating this disease and trying to tolerate the treatment.”

Pancreatic cancer is commonly diagnosed at Trebek’s age, said Dr. Matthew Weiss, deputy physician-in-chief of surgical oncology at the Northwell Health Cancer Institute. It’s also not unusual to receive a late diagnosis after the cancer has spread from the pancreas, Weiss said, as half find out they have reached an advanced stage. Only a fifth of patients will find out at an early enough stage to undergo surgery, Weiss said.

The danger of pancreatic malignant growth increments with age, with most people diagnosed after age 65 according to the Mayo Clinic.

About 57,000 people each year will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the U.S., according to the American Cancer Society. Nearly 46,000 people will die of the disease in 2019, the cancer society projects. Out of all cancers, it causes the fourth-most deaths, said Dr. Yuri Genyk, a professor of clinical surgery at the University of Southern California. It is expected to cause the second-most deaths by 2030.

Genyk said the chemotherapy regime called folfirinox is generally considered the most effective against pancreatic cancer, but still has side effects including nausea and severe abdominal pain.

As the beloved host undergoes treatment, “Jeopardy!” viewers may see some of the toll it takes on his body, Donahue said. Trebek may appear fatigued and lose weight and hair. But some patients are responding better to chemotherapy, Weiss said.

“Without precedent for a long time, chemotherapy has come to the heart of the matter where patients are living longer and longer lives,” he said.

Pancreatic malignancy starts in tissue of the organ, which lies on a level plane behind the lower some portion of your stomach. The pancreas discharges compounds that guide processing and delivers hormones that assistance deal with the body’s glucose. An early cautioning indication of pancreatic malignant growth is diabetes combined with weight reduction, jaundice and agony in the upper midriff, as indicated by the Mayo Clinic. Early mediation is basic to doing combating the ailment before it spreads to different organs.

The disease society evaluates the danger of getting pancreatic malignancy in the normal man’s lifetime is around 1 out of 63; for ladies, it’s 1 of every 65.

Like any malignant growth, pancreatic disease begins when cells begin to develop wild. Medical procedure to evacuate the malignant growth “is a long and complex task that can be hard both for the specialist and the patient,” the disease society clarifies in documentation on treatment. “It regularly requires a long medical clinic remain, in any event to a limited extent on account of the long entry point made in the gut.”

Yet, there are fresher methodologies currently utilized at some significant medicinal focuses to do the activity laparoscopically, which is substantially less intrusive.

All things considered, among patients with a phase considered precisely sensible, under 5 percent live 10 years or more, USC’s Genyk said.

Add Comment