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Alex Trebek’s first symptom of pancreatic cancer was visible to others



Already in March 2019 Danger! Host Alex Trebek announced that he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, a type of cancer that is often diagnosed late in the course of the disease. But his wife Jean actually noticed one of the earliest noticeable symptoms Alex had, she writes in a new essay for Signpost.

A few months before they revealed Alex’s diagnosis, the Trebeks were on a trip to Israel, writes Jean, when she realized something was not quite right. “We finished dinner one evening and I looked at Alex across the table. His coloring didn’t seem to be, ”she writes in the essay. She asked if he was okay and he said yes, but he “is not one to complain,”

; says Jean. “But he admitted that he had a stomach ache. I thought okay we were in a different country. Maybe he ate it. “But at home in California things were still not right, so Alex’s doctor ran some tests. Finally the diagnosis came: stage IV pancreatic cancer that had already spread to his stomach lining.

Unfortunately, pancreatic cancer is often detected late and spreads quickly, SELF previously explained, making effective treatment difficult. Some of the more noticeable symptoms include yellowing of the skin (jaundice), stomach pain, loss of appetite, and dark urine, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Although Jean Trebek doesn’t specifically mention jaundice, this is likely the reason for Alex’s discoloration. Jaundice is a condition that occurs when you have a high amount of bilirubin in your body, a chemical in hemoglobin and bile that is yellow in color. Usually, when old blood cells break down, bilirubin is produced in the liver, and the bile is eliminated from your liver. If there’s a problem before, during, or after bilirubin is made, it could be that you have too much of it in your body, causing jaundice, explains the Cleveland Clinic.

For example, before bilirubin production begins, you may develop jaundice due to a condition such as hemolytic anemia, in which blood cells break down too early in their life cycle. This makes it difficult for the body to keep up with the breakdown process and the amount of bilirubin produced. During the production of bilirubin, jaundice may develop due to health conditions or drugs that affect the liver, such as hepatitis C. After the production of bilirubin, jaundice is more likely to be caused by blockages in the biliary tract like gallstones or tumors in the gallbladder or pancreas.

The most noticeable symptom of jaundice is a yellowish tinge in your skin or eyes. However, depending on the underlying cause of the jaundice, other symptoms may also appear, such as: B. Abdominal pain, fever, or dark urine. While the many possible causes of jaundice aren’t all equally serious, it can be a symptom of some really serious problems – including pancreatic cancer. It is important to see a doctor if you think you may have this disease.

Now, more than a year and a half after his diagnosis, Alex has undergone chemotherapy and significant dietary changes to support his overall health, writes his wife. And the whole family has a new approach to life. “This didn’t have to be a death sentence. It could be a life sentence. A constant reminder of how precious life is, ”writes Jean. “The smallest things that I once took for granted now have more meaning.”

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