Pancreatic cancer: What is Jeopardy host Alex Trebek's diagnosis?

Posted at 5:45 PM, Mar 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-06 20:45:52-05

(KGTV) - Jeopardy host Alex Trebek’s announcement Wednesday of his pancreatic cancer diagnosis raised awareness - and concerns - about the disease.

The pancreas is a small organ that secretes hormones, including insulin, to help your body process sugar, according to the Mayo Clinic. It also creates digestive juices.

Symptoms of the cancer include:

- Pain in the upper abdomen that radiates to the back

- Loss of appetite or weight loss

- Depression

- New-onset diabetes

- Blood clots

- Fatigue

- Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes

Doctors have not determined what causes pancreatic cancer, Mayo Clinic experts say.

RELATED: Jeopardy's Alex Trebek diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer

There are certain risk factors, like smoking, family history, obesity, diabetes, and old age.

The disease is seldom detected in its early stages, and symptoms often don’t occur until the disease is advanced.

Stage IV pancreatic cancer, which was Trebek's diagnosis, means the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

Treatment may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a combination of these.