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Alex Trebek Shares the Cancer Symptom He Ignored

And other warning signs that people should heed
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 31, 2019 9:45 AM CDT

(Newser) – World Pancreatic Cancer Day isn't until Nov. 21, but a new public service announcement with a big name attached is already helping spread awareness of the disease. The New York Daily News reports that Alex Trebek, who has been publicly documenting his own battle with the illness, appears in the one-minute PSA for the World Pancreatic Cancer Coalition. In it, he offers stats and warns viewers not to ignore telltale signs that could lead to a quicker diagnosis. "I wish I had known sooner that the persistent stomach pain I experienced prior to my diagnosis was a symptom of pancreatic cancer," he says in the spot. "Other common symptoms can include mid-back pain, unexplained weight loss, new-onset diabetes, and the yellowing of the skin or eyes."

Trebek revealed in September—almost four months after he'd said that his cancer was "near remission"—that he had to return to chemotherapy treatments due to spiking "numbers." He notes in the PSA that "pancreatic cancer is the only major cancer with a five-year survival rate in the single digits" in most countries. Still, the 79-year-old Jeopardy! host is determined to help others during his own cancer-related challenges. "Won't you join me in this fight?" he says, urging viewers to wear purple throughout November and spread the word on social media. "Together, we can get it done." Watch here. (Trebek admits his ambivalence at being such a high-profile spokesperson for the disease.)

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