Alex Trebek credits faith in God and prayer with his survival in a moving health update

Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek passed the one-year survival mark after being diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer last March. He celebrated by sharing a health update video in which he credits his faith in God and the prayers of his viewers for helping him get this far.

Trebek, age 79, has hosted the long-running game show for 36 years, and after his cancer diagnosis he asked for prayers from his viewers and fans.

“Now normally, the prognosis for this is not very encouraging, but I’m going to fight this, and I’m going to keep working. And with the love and support of my family and friends and with the help of your prayers also, I plan to beat the low survival rate statistics for this disease,” he said in announcing the news.

The one-year survival rate for stage four pancreatic cancer patients is 18%, and Trebek released a video this week giving a health update, and announcing he had just crossed that marker.

Trebek acknowledged that there were moments of great depression during his treatment that made him consider stopping the treatment and letting the cancer take its course.

“There were moments of great pain,” he said. “That made me wonder if it really was worth fighting on. But I brushed that aside, because that would have been a massive betrayal … it would have been a betrayal of other cancer patients who have looked to me as an inspiration, and a cheerleader of sorts, of the value of living and hope … and it certainly would have been a betrayal of my faith in God and the millions of prayers that had been said on my behalf.”

Msgr. Stuart Swetland, host of Go Ask Your Father™commented on Trebek’s faith-filled update, saying, “I found that a very moving testimony, not only to his stick-to-itiveness during a very difficult time … but also of his understanding of being a person who lives in community, who lives in relationship to others.”

“He saw his disease and his struggle not just about him, but all the relationships God has blessed him with,” Msgr. Swetland pointed out. “His relationship with his, as he said, soul mate, that one flesh unity of husband and wife. The community he has with the many friends, and beyond the friends, the people who know him through his work on television. And, as he said, the millions and millions of prayers that are being said for him, his obligation to those people and to other cancer victims who look at him as a role model and inspiration.”

Msgr. Swetland also emphasized the fact that Trebek did not hesitate to give witness to his relationship with God, saying Trebek recognized “the importance of that reality that his life is a gift from God. And it is God’s decision about when and if he will be with us a year from now. And so I found all of that very inspirational.”

Listen to the full segment below, and tune-in to Go Ask Your Father weekdays at 1:00 p.m. Eastern/10:00 a.m. Pacific on Relevant Radio and the Relevant Radio App.

Stephanie Foley serves as a Digital Media Producer at Relevant Radio®. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, where she studied journalism, and she has worked in Catholic radio for 12 years. Stephanie is a wife, a mother of three boys, and in her free time she enjoys reading, running, and really good coffee. You can find more of Stephanie’s writing at and on the free Relevant Radio mobile app.