Valley doctors talk about longtime battle 'Jeopardy!' host Alex Trebek now faces

PHOENIX (FOX 10) - On March 6, Alex Trebek of fame revealed that he's battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Today, valley doctors are talking about the battle the longtime 'Jeopardy!' host now faces.

Trebek vows to fight one of the deadliest cancers out there. Doctors continue to research the disease, but it's hard to catch and, once it spreads, time is limited.

Dr. Rachit Kumar, MD of Banner University Medical Center explains why the pancreas is so vital.

"It's an organ [that] helps basically create enzymes that both help digest food as well as control sugar in the body and insulin," Dr. Kumar said. "So when an overgrowth of bad cells basically grow in the pancreas, that's what we call pancreatic cancer."

Trebek says his cancer is in stage 4, and he knows his chances to beat it are slim.

"For those patients, unfortunately, survival is not great," Dr. Kumar said. "It's typically less than one year."

Dr. Kumar says it's difficult to diagnose pancreatic cancer early. There aren't many screenings that can be done, compared to the ones that detect other types of cancers. But he says chemotherapy has evolved and may be more tolerated at first.

"[Trebek] may do well initially," Dr. Kumar said. "But I think as the chemotherapy builds up, the side effects increase [and it's] probably going to be a lot harder for him to work."

Dr. Kumar suggests if you do have pancreatic cancer, find a medical center that sees a high volume of pancreatic cancer patients. He says the outcome could be better.