Alex Trebek reveals he’s undergoing chemotherapy for second time

The “Jeopardy!” host revealed on “GMA” that after completing chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer with a good prognosis, his health has taken a turn.
7:19 | 09/17/19

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Transcript for Alex Trebek reveals he’s undergoing chemotherapy for second time
We have the latest now on beloved "Jeopardy" host Alex trebek as he begins the new season of his show. He has a health update that he'd like to share as he continues to face cancer and he's doing it so valiantly. T.J. Holmes had the privilege of sitting down with him in the studio. Just yesterday. He's keeping with his practice of being completely open and honest about this cancer battle and he's given us an update. This is not the update he expected to give and not the update any of us wanted to hear but in true trebek form he found a way to be optimistic and inspirational at this difficult time. I talked to the audience sometimes and I get teary-eyed for no reason whatsoever. I can't explain it. I don't even bother trying to explain it anymore. Alex trebek has dealt with emotional highs and lows in the months since his shocking announcement that he has stage 4 pancreatic cancer. 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. Reporter: The Ven yabl "Jeopardy" host has been open and optimistic about fighting the disease and this morning, he's revealing a setback in his battle. Summer, you said there were two things you wanted to do this summer. You said you were going to try to get your strength back and grow your hair back. How was the summer on those two fronts? Dismal. Really. My hair started to grow back, but now I have to undergo chemo again. So what little hair I have grown is going to disappear again. I've gone through a lot of chemotherapy and thankfully that is now over. I'm on the mend and that's all I can hope for right now. Reporter: It was just last month trebek announced the good news, treatment was working and he'd finished his chemotherapy but then things took a turn. In terms of getting my strength back that hasn't happened, unfortunately. You said you having to go through another round of chemo. Yes. Was that the plan always. No. I was doing so well and my numbers went down to the equivalent of a normal human being who does not have pancreatic cancer, so we were all very optimistic and they said, good, we're going to stop chemo and start you on immunotherapy and lost about 12 pounds in a week and my numbers went sky high. Much higher than they were when I was first diagnosed so the doctors have decided that I have to undergo chemo again and that's what I'm doing. And it has different effects on you for some reason and I don't understand why, occasionally it will cause excruciating pain in my lower back. Other times it's fatigue. Other times it's nausea. It varies. Cancer is mysterious in more ways than one. Did anything happen this summer that gave you more optimism or less about you beating this thing? Well, the thing I suppose that gives me the most optimism is that, hey, I'm still here. And I don't feel terrible. Are you now figuring out that you're a little tougher than you thought you were. No, I'm still a bit of a wuss because there are moments when for no reason at all I feel this surge of sadness, depression. Doesn't last very long, but it just takes over my whole being for a short period of time and I understand it more now. So I can deal with it a lot better than I did before. When it happened early on, I was down on myself. I said, hey, you shouldn't be reacting this way. I didn't realize how fallible each of us is in his or her own way. I just experience it, I know that it's part of who I am and I'm going to just keep going. Are you starting to think any differently about life and trying to make sure, oh, I always planned to do that maybe I should go ahead and get that in? Are you thinking at all like that. No. I don't think that way. I enjoy what's going on now. I realize that there is an end in sight for me, just as there is for everyone else. One line that I have used with our staff in recent weeks and months is that when I do pass on, one thing they will not say at my funeral is, oh, he was taken from us too soon. Hey, guy, I'm 79 years old. I've had one hell of a good life and I've enjoyed it and the thought of passing on doesn't frighten me. It doesn't. Other things do. The effect it will have on my loved ones, yes, that bothers me and makes me sad. But the thought of myself moving on, hey, folks, it comes with the territory. Did you have a conversation with anybody over the past several months about giving this up to focus on your health and to stop hosting the show. No. Here is the host of "Jeopardy," Alex trebek. As long as I can walk out and greet the audience and the contestants and run the game, I'm happy. He found out about his diagnosis early in the year and made the announcement in March and not missed a single day of went through chemo. It's difficult. I don't say it's difficult but to talk to him and the things he's talking about trying to get my strength up this summer, he said, yeah, I found it difficult to carry a bottle of wine upstairs. Wait, where does that come from? He's joking to you and taking it in such a way. The grace he had and at times he was comforting me, he said, T.J., you're not going to like this answer when he was getting me ready for the health news almost, it's just how he thinks and, look, he had a doctor's appointment yesterday while I was there in L.A., he's getting the results back today so we're going to get another update to see how this last round of chemotherapy, how he's reacting to it but he's going to keep going and goes through days of excruciating pain in that studio. I think of Stuart Scott who said that it's how you face it that you beat cancer and the manner in which you live your life and that's Alex trebek. How he's living his life, how he's showing up and hosting and teaching us all along the way is just remarkable. His honesty and his vulnerability I think is going to help so many people, so many people are living with and fighting cancer right now and to see how he's doing it is just like an inspiration beyond words. Can we set the record straight? He is not a wuss. He is not a wuss. I thought the same thing. Do not call yourself a wuss. Quite the opposite. You know what he was doing this past weekend, digging a ditch at his home. He felt so good he was doing some work at home. Those are big moments in life right now to do work around the house and he talked about that. But they have their tournament of champions so "Jeopardy James" is coming back but has not missed a beat. My hero. All right. Thanks, T.J. Coming up next, the new interview with big Papi. So Josh, you going for our Drive Safe and Save discount?

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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