While he continues to host Season 36 of Jeopardy! during his ongoing treatment for Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, Alex Trebek revealed in a recent interview that, due to the side effects of a second round of chemotherapy, he recognizes his time with the quiz show might potentially come to an end. “There are weaknesses I feel in my body but I can always suck it up when it comes to tape the show,” the Ontario-born host told CTV’s Lisa LaFlamme in an interview Friday, “I will keep doing it as long as my skills do not diminish, and they have started to diminish.” As a result of treatment, Trebek says, he suffers from mouth sores that make enunciating difficult, an obvious hurdle for a daily TV presenter. “I’m sure there are observant members of the television audience that notice also, but they’re forgiving,” says Trebek. “But there will come a point when they [fans and producers] will no longer be able to say, ‘It’s okay.’”
The host also reflected on his decision to discuss his cancer diagnosis, which he revealed in March, and its treatment. “There are moments when I have some regrets about having gone public with it, because I think there’s a little too much Alex Trebek out there,” he says. Trebek says it can be hard to offer support to other people fighting similar cancer battles while going through one himself. “A lot of people are coming to me and looking for help, reassurance, and that’s tough,” he explained, recalling a conversation with a woman distraught over her own new pancreatic cancer diagnosis. “I don’t know if I’m strong enough or intelligent enough to help alleviate some of that despair, so it’s tough on me.”
But as difficult as the past year has been for him, Alex Trebek seems hearteningly optimistic about his future, whatever that future might be. “I’m not afraid of dying,” he said. “As I told somebody the other day, one thing they’re not gonna say at my funeral as a part of a eulogy: ‘He was taken from us too soon.’ I’m 79 years old. So, hey, I’ve lived a good life, a full life, and I’m nearing the end of that life. I know that.” Says Trebek. “If it happens, it happens. And why should I be afraid of it?” Trebek has hosted Jeopardy! since 1984.