March 7, 2019

Alex Trebek’s Pancreatic Cancer Announcement: Gain an Understanding of His Diagnosis

By Jess Valence

Alex Trebek has recently been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He shared his news in a video post.

In the video he states:

“I have some news to share with all of you, and it’s in keeping with my longtime policy of being open and transparent with our Jeopardy fan base,” Trebek says. “I also wanted to prevent you from reading or hearing some overblown or inaccurate reports regarding my health. So, therefore, I wanted to be the one to pass along this information. Now, just like 50,000 other people in the United States each year, this week I was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.”

What is Pancreatic Cancer?

Pancreatic cancer occurs when cells in the pancreas grow out of control and form a growth or tumor. (Not all tumors are cancerous, non-cancerous tumors are called benign, while cancerous tumors are malignant) In Alex’s case, he has a malignant tumor in his pancreas that spread to other areas of his body.

The pancreas is an organ in the abdomen; part of the digestive system that helps facilitate digestive functions and blood sugar regulations. Alex states that he has been diagnosed with stage IV (4), this means that cancer has spread to other parts of his body, such as the bowel, liver, lungs, spleen or stomach. Stages in cancer are determined by the size and spread of cancer.²

Learn About The Different Stages of Pancreatic Cancer & Alex’s Likely Treatment Plan

Stage 0 means that there is a minute amount of abnormal cells. Stage I means the cancer is small and only in one area. These are also called early-stage cancer. Stage II and III mean the cancer is larger and has grown into nearby tissues or lymph nodes. Stage IV means cancer has spread to other parts of your body.¹

Since Alex’s cancer has been categorized as stage IV it means that the surgeons cannot remove it, and there is no cure. His treatment will most likely involve managing pain and other symptoms to improve his quality of life.

Pancreatic Cancer 2019 Stats — The Most Up-To-Date Numbers

In 2018, it is estimated by the National Cancer Institute² that there will be 55,440 new cases of pancreatic cancer in the U.S. Pancreatic cancer is more common with increasing age and slightly more common in men than women. The number of new cases of pancreatic cancer was 12.6 per 100,000 men and women per year based on 2011–2015 cases.

Our Cancer Patient App Community

We at GRYT are saddened to hear Alex’s news. We interact with patients daily that have a similar diagnosis through our GRYT Health Cancer Community app, available on iOS or Android. If you or someone you know is going through a pancreatic or another type of cancer diagnosis, we’d love to help support. Please share our app information so that no one has to be in this fight alone.

The GRYT App

¹When interacting with people who have been diagnosed with cancer it is important to remember that there is no “good” cancer type or stage.

²SEER Cancer Stat Facts: Pancreatic Cancer. National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD,

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January 7, 2019

Ten Tips for a Chemotherapy Prep Checklist

By: Shelley Nolden

GRYT Chairwoman, here. Below you’ll find ten tips that I learned as I was getting treated for APL. There aren’t many things that can help you feel better while you’re going through chemotherapy, but these can maybe make the journey a bit more comfortable.

1. Enjoy a good breakfast. Why not start the day right? A hearty pre-chemo meal will give you a little extra stored energy if it becomes tougher to eat in the days ahead.

2. Do something physical. It may be weeks before you feel strong enough to work out again, so make the most of this last opportunity. Plus, the endorphins will make the wait for your appointment a little easier.

3. Wear a shirt with loose-fitting sleeves. When you roll up your sleeve, you don’t want your circulation to be cut off. If this happens, the medication will remain concentrated in the veins in your arm. (I learned this the hard way, though luckily with an infusion of a benign drug that didn’t cause any damage.)

4. Bring music and headphones. Infusion centers can be noisy, and somehow nerves seem to amplify the noise. Also, if you’re not in a talkative mood, and the person next to you is, headphones give you a polite escape from a conversation about the Giants’ 1970 pre-season (if that’s your thing, it’s easy enough to set the headphones aside…).

5. Check your dosage. Know the generic and manufacturer’s name of your drug, the size of your dose, and what it looks like. Pay attention to the center’s protocol for ensuring you receive the correct drug and dose. Errors happen.

6. Suck on ice chips during the infusion. If you are receiving a medicine that can cause mouth lesions, try this tip. The theory is that the blood vessels in your mouth will constrict from the cold ice, causing less of the chemical in your blood stream to reach that area. Thus the sores may not be as severe.

7. If the site of the IV hurts, say something. If your chemo is a vesicant and it leaks from your vein, it will cause damage. Say something immediately if you feel any pain so the infusion can be slowed or stopped. I had a faint pain during my last infusion, and the area hurt for days afterward. Warm compresses helped.

8. Leave the facility with a prescription for anti-nausea medicine. This tip is like the umbrella adage: It’s better to have it and not use it than to not have it.

9. Drink A LOT of water. Helping your body flush the chemo out of your system may reduce the side effects. At the least, it makes you feel a little more in control.

10. Thank the nurses and your support system. Though your support team doesn’t feel the physical effects, it’s not easy for them to watch you go through this.

11. Bonus Tip: This is not the time to prove yourself. During your recovery period, no one else expects you to be superman or superwoman. Don’t expect it of yourself, or you will feel disappointed when you can’t make it happen. These life saving medicines are wonderful, but powerful. Let them do your job. When they’re done, then you can do yours.

What things helped you through chemo?? Did we miss something that helped you and preparation for chemotherapy? Let us know in the GRYT App!

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