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Pancreatic Cancer Not Answer Game Show Host Alex Trebek Expected

Pancreatic Cancer Not Answer Game Show Host Alex Trebek Expected

alex trebek pancreatic cancer
“Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek at the 2016 USO Gala, Washington, D.C., Oct. 20, 2016. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Jim Greenhill)

Earlier this year, Alex Trebek, the long-standing host of “Jeopardy!,” announced he’d been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at age 79. Like his game show participants, this answer to what he assumed to be benign symptoms leaves us with a lot of questions.

What are the symptoms of pancreatic cancer?

In an interview, Trebek mentioned he’d experienced persistent stomach pain prior to his diagnosis. Similar pain is one of the most reported symptoms among pancreatic cancer patients. 

Other symptoms include:

  • Jaundice
  • Weight loss
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • New diagnosis of diabetes (the vast majority of people with a new diabetes diagnosis do not have pancreatic cancer)

If these symptoms sound similar to the symptoms of many other illnesses, you’re right. Which is one of the reasons pancreatic cancer is rarely diagnosed during the early stages. The other obstacle to early diagnosis is that by the time these symptoms do appear, the cancer has usually grown beyond the pancreas.

Who’s at risk of pancreatic cancer?

Like many other cancers, lifestyle choices can increase your risk of developing pancreatic cancer. The risks increase for people who:

  • Smoke
  • Are Obese
  • Have long-standing, uncontrolled diabetes
  • Have a poor diet

You can’t control all the risk factors though. Some like chronic inflammation of the pancreas, a family history of pancreatic cancer, family history of genetic syndrome such as BRCA2 gene mutation, Lynch syndrome and familial atypical mole-malignant melanoma (FAMMM) syndrome, and age can’t be changed.

How do you treat pancreatic cancer?

Alex Trebek reported success with early chemotherapy treatment of his cancer. After a short remission, however, he experienced regrowth of the tumors and has begun chemotherapy treatment again. 

While chemo is often a part of a treatment plan, other treatments may include surgery, radiation or clinical trials. Your cancer’s stage when it’s discovered determines exactly how your doctor treats your disease. 

We talk a lot about diabetes diagnosis and management here on our website and on our social media. Although the vast majority of our diabetes patients will never receive a pancreatic cancer diagnosis, we know this disease elevates their risk. It’s one more reason we’re determined to help all our patients live healthier, longer lives.

If you need help controlling your diabetes or discovering what’s causing you to feel bad more days than not make an appointment with one of our providers by calling (662) 282-4226.

Men’s Health: A Hairy Situation

man with beard; men's health awareness; movember

Men’s Health Awareness advocates have renamed November to Movember. They encourage men to retire the razor a month and grow out their mustaches and beards in hopes of motivating conversations about men’s health. Across the world, women live longer than men, and in the United States, it averages an extra five years of life. Take a dive with us through the testosterone waters to find out why.

Who are you?

Men are twenty-percent less likely to have seen a medical provider in the last year than women. Is it because they’re healthier? Nope.

On average, men have their first heart attack around age 65, while a woman’s first heart attack happens later around age 72. (Although women are still more likely to die from a heart attack than men.)

Men are twice as likely to develop Type 2 diabetes at a younger age and lower BMI than women.

Men are more likely to develop, and die from, cancer than women. 

Men are three times more likely to die from suicide, although more women are diagnosed with depression than men.

All of these diseases are most easily prevented and treated in their early stages. Preventative treatment and screenings can identify risks before the illness strikes — but only if the patient seeks out that treatment. Additionally, men are less likely to follow a treatment plan than women.

Enter Movember

Raising awareness increases conversations between men about their physical and mental health. The more men talk about health screenings and their mental health, the more they realize they aren’t alone. 

Celebrate Men’s Health Awareness Month by scheduling a yearly wellness check-up with your medical provider. If you have health insurance, this wellness visit is usually covered 100%. This exam includes checking your blood pressure, a key measurement for determining heart disease.

Keep the celebration going by scheduling your necessary health screenings: 

  • Prostate cancer screening after age 40 with a family history; after age 45 for African American men; after age 50 for all men.
  • Colonoscopy at age 50.
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm screening between ages 65-75 if you’ve ever used tobacco.

Don’t be afraid to talk to someone about your mental health, including a counselor or therapist if needed. More and more men are talking about their mental health including celebrities such as Ryan Reynolds, Dewayne “The Rock” Johnson, Kevin Love, Micheal Phelps, Chris Evans, and many more. If they’re not afraid to open up about depression and anxiety, you shouldn’t be either.

Finally, follow your wife/sister/daughter/friend’s example and do some self-care work. Exercise. Drink plenty of water. Find a hobby you enjoy. Try to eat a little healthier. Stop smoking. 

Your life is valuable and we need you around for many years to come.


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