‘I wish I had known’: Alex Trebek highlights early warning signs of pancreatic cancer in new PSA

“Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek issued a public service announcement Wednesday to educate people on the early warning signs of pancreatic cancer.

Trebek, 79, was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer in March and has been doing chemotherapy treatments.

In the new video, which also raises awareness about World Pancreatic Cancer Day on Nov. 21, Trebek talks about the warning signs people should pay attention to.

“I wish I had known sooner that the persistent stomach pain I experienced prior to my diagnosis was a symptom of pancreatic cancer,” he said.

He also noted other symptoms, many of which can be mistaken for other illnesses or conditions such as gallstones, pancreatitis and irritable bowel syndrome, according to the World Pancreatic Cancer Coalition.

Those symptoms include:

  • Abdominal and mid-back pain
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes, also known as jaundice
  • Changes in stool
  • New-onset diabetes
  • Digestive problems
  • Loss of appetite
  • Changes in mood

Trebek also noted that pancreatic cancer is the only major cancer with a single-digit five-year survival rate at 2 to 9 percent.

According to the World Pancreatic Cancer Coalition, research studies identified some risk factors that could increase the likelihood of developing pancreatic cancer.

Those include:

  • Inherited genetic mutations
  • Family history of pancreatic cancer or other cancers
  • Diabetes
  • Pancreatitis, which is the inflammation of the pancreas
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Race
  • Age
  • Diet

“Now in order to help patients fight and survive this disease more attention and awareness are needed,” Trebek said.

He also urged people to wear purple for the month of November and to spread the word on social media.