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Let's survive cancer in 2020: Alex Trebek on what he would say to Rep. John Lewis

John Lewis diagnosed with pancreatic cancer
John Lewis diagnosed with pancreatic cancer 02:31

Both Alex Trebek and Congressman John Lewis separately announced in 2019 that they are fighting pancreatic cancer. Now, Trebek has a message for Lewis: Let's beat cancer in 2020.

During an interview with the Associated Press, the "Jeopardy!" host was asked what he would tell the congressman. "We're starting a new year, and let's see if we can't both complete the year as pancreatic cancer survivors," Trebek said.

Both men are 79 years old and are determined to fight the disease.

Trebek revealed his diagnosis in March, saying in a social media video that he has stage 4 pancreatic cancer. "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. "So help me. Keep the faith and we'll win. We'll get it done. Thank you."

Lewis revealed his diagnosis more recently, telling the world in December that he had stage 4 pancreatic cancer. "While I am clear-eyed about the prognosis, doctors have told me that recent medical advances have made this type of cancer treatable in many cases, that treatment options are no longer as debilitating as they once were, and that I have a fighting chance," Lewis said in a statement. 

"So I have decided to do what I know to do and do what I have always done: I am going to fight it and keep fighting for the Beloved Community. We still have many bridges to cross."

Both men have not only vowed to fight the cancer, but to also continuing working while they undergo treatment. "I may miss a few votes during this period, but with God's grace I will be back on the front lines soon," Lewis said.

Trebek continued to tape episodes of "Jeopardy!", but just after returning to the stage to kick off season 36, he said he would need to undergo yet another round of chemotherapy. 

He said that he has planned for how he will say goodbye to viewers, should that time come. "I've kind of, in my mind, rehearsed it already, and what I would do on that day is tell the director, 'Time the show down to leave me 30 seconds at the end. That's all I want,'" Trebek said in an interview with ABC's Michael Strahan last week, ahead of a highly anticipated tournament between champions James Holzhauer, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter.

Trebek told the AP it was at times difficult to film that special tournament. He said he told a producer that he was "struggling a bit" on stage, but was assured that nobody noticed. "I said, 'Well, I noticed,'" the host recalled.

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