Trebek diagnosis brings attention to pancreatic cancer fight

Posted: Updated:
MORRISTOWN -

Iconic “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek announced Wednesday that he has been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer and he has vowed to survived it.

“I plan to beat the low survival statistics for this disease,” the 78-year-old said in a YouTube video.

Trebek’s announcement brought some new attention to pancreatic cancer and the ways medical professionals are fighting it.

New Jersey resident Carol Campbell is also fighting the disease.

“I think attitude has a lot to do with it,” she says. “You have to be optimistic and hopeful.”

RELATED: ‘Jeopardy!’ host Alex Trebek diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer 

Campbell drives three hours from South Jersey to Morristown Medical Center to be part of a clinical trial run by Dr. Angela Alistar. Alistar is the director of the hospital’s GI Medical Oncology Unit.

“There are many different ways to try and change the fate of pancreatic cancer,” Alistar says.

Pancreatic cancer statistically has a low survival rate. But the doctor says that she does not want her patients to worry about statistics and just worry about getting better.

“We know that every patient has a different kind of pancreatic cancer, therefore will have different outcomes, different tolerances to treatments and different responses to treatments,” Alistar says.

The clinical trial that Campbell is participating in slows the metabolism of the cancer and can offer patients the best chance of beating the disease.

“What makes me optimistic about treating pancreatic cancer is clinical research, because I know that one day we will break through,” Alistar says.

Morristown Medical opened its Breakthrough Oncology Accelerator Wednesday. The new center offers groundbreaking clinical trials and treatments for all forms of cancer at a more affordable cost. Hospital officials say that they hope to have 100 cancer clinical trials open at the center by 2020.

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