Category: cancer

Alex Trebek says he’s undergoing chemo again after cancer setback

Alex Trebek announced Tuesday he’s undergoing chemotherapy again after a cancer setback.

The “Jeopardy!” host said in an interview with ‘Good Morning America’ that he lost a large amount of weight, and his numbers skyrocketed after finishing his first round of treatment for stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

Trebek told “Good Morning America”: “I was doing so well. And my numbers went down to the equivalent of a normal human being who does not have pancreatic cancer. So we were all very optimistic. And they said, ‘Good, we’re gonna stop chemo, we’ll start you on immunotherapy…I lost about 12 pounds in a week. And my numbers went sky high, much higher than they were when I was first diagnosed. So, the doctors have decided that I have to undergo chemo again and that’s what I’m doing.”

Trebek was diagnosed in March. In May, his doctors told him he was in “near remission.”

At the time, he told PEOPLE: “It’s kind of mind-boggling. The doctors said they hadn’t seen this kind of positive result in their memory…some of the tumors have already shrunk by more than 50 percent.” He just recently returned to ‘Jeopardy,’ which started its 36th season.

Trebek told “Good Morning America” that cancer has taken a toll on his body, causing excruciating pain and fatigue at times. He said he’s also battled depression since his diagnosis.

He also said in the interview that the thought of dying does not frighten him.

“I realize that there is an end in sight for me, just as there is for everyone else,” he said. ” One line that I have used with our staff in recent weeks and months is that when I do pass on, one thing they will not say at my funeral is, ‘Oh, he was taken from us too soon. Hey guys. I’m 79-years-old. I’ve had one hell of a good life. And I’ve enjoyed it … the thought of passing on doesn’t frighten me, it doesn’t. Other things do, the effect it will have on my loved ones … it makes me sad. But the thought of myself moving on, hey folks, it comes with the territory.”

He said he does not plan to stop hosting “Jeopardy!”

Alex Trebek completes chemo, is ‘Back at Work’ preparing for season 36 of Jeopardy!

“Jeopardy!” is preparing for its 36th season.  Great news! Beloved host, Alex Trebek, is back at work.

“It’s another day at the office, and an exciting day because so many great things have been happening,” Trebek said.

Trebek was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer in March.

“I’ve gone through a lot of chemotherapy. Thankfully, that is now over. I’m on the mend and that’s all I can hope for right now.” shared Trebek.

The American Cancer Society estimates 3% of patients with stage 4 pancreatic cancer are alive five years after being diagnosed.

Season 36 is scheduled to return September 9.

“We have some exciting things coming up and I can’t wait to share them with all of you. Let me tell you, it’s going to be a good year.” he said.

Wellness Wednesday: Intermoutain Healthcare hosts free mobile farmer’s markets for cancer patients

SALT LAKE CITY – When you’re fighting cancer, everything can be challenging – including cooking dinner and shopping. 

 

Healthy nutrition is a critical component of cancer care. Because of this, Intermountain Healthcare Cancer Services, with support of the Intermountain Foundation, is partnering with local nonprofit Green Urban Lunch Box to provide tasty fruits and vegetables at no cost to cancer patients and their loved ones as part of a mobile farmer’s market.

 

Healthy nutrition is a critical complement to cancer care. Leading organizations, such as American Cancer Society and National Cancer Institute, recognize a healthy diet as being a fundamental component for cancer prevention and for improving outcomes during treatment and throughout survivorship,” said Elisa Soulier, wellness program coordinator for Intermountain Healthcare. 

 

The evidence is continuing to prove that maintaining adequate nutrition for cancer patients going through active treatment can reduce treatment-related side effects, prevent delays in treatment, and improve quality of life,” she added. 

Because of the success of this mobile farmer’s market program, which has been underway for the past few years, Intermountain is expanding the markets to serve more of those that are battling cancer. The program, which started at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, will now also be offered at Utah Valley Cancer Center in Provo, LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City, and McKay-Dee Cancer Center in Ogden.

 

“It’s important to have a healthy diet before, during and after cancer treatment. Proper nutrition helps maintain strength, decrease side effects and keep a healthy body weight – all of which improve quality of life,” said Soulier. 

 

In past years, up to 300 pounds of locally grown fruits and vegetables has been given to cancer patients at the mobile farmer’s markets. 

 

It’s hard to get to the store when you’re spending hours getting treatments, and it can be expensive to buy fresh produce. We are excited to have more of our patients reap the benefits of locally-grown, fresh produce as we expand to these new locations,” Soulier noted

Farmer’s Market Locations & Dates:

Intermountain Medical Center

Intermountain Medical Center Cancer Center – Bldg. #3 Lobby, 5121 South Cottonwood Street, Murray

Thursdays > July 25; August 1, 8, 15, 22, 29; September 5, 12, 19, 26; October 3

2:00-4:00pm

 

Utah Valley Hospital Cancer Center

Sorenson Tower 1st Floor (Radiation Oncology), 395 W. Bulldog Blvd., Provo

Mondays > July 22; August 5, 19, 16, 30; October 14

2:00-4:00pm

 

LDS Hospital

7th Floor West 7 Conf. Room, 8th Ave C Street, Salt Lake City

Fridays > July 26; August 2, 9, 16, 23, 30; September 6, 13, 20, 27; October 4, 11

1:00-3:00pm

 

McKay-Dee Cancer Center

McKay-Dee Cancer Center – Ste. 1670, 4403 Harrison Blvd., Ogden, UT

Wednesdays > July 31; August 7, 14, 21, 28; September 4, 11, 18, 25; October 2, 9, 16

2:00-4:00pm

 

Teen creates art to help pay for her own medical care

SALT LAKE CITY — A 19-year-old artist from Ogden is using her own work to help pay for her medical care.

“That’s kind of what I try to do — I try to make other people happy,” Ebony Myers said about why she draws.

Her works of art, for the last three weeks, have been made while laying in a hospital bed at LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City.

“The medicine, the pain, not my bed. I don’t really feel comfortable sometimes,” she said.

Myers has a genetic condition known as familial adenomatous polyposis, or F.A.P.

“What F.A.P. does is it causes cancer and it kills you,” said Mary Khalaf, Myers’ mother.

Khalaf said most of her relatives died by the age of 26. She likely would have followed the same path, but she moved to Utah where a treatment was being developed at the Huntsman Cancer Institute.

“We owe them everything. We owe them our whole lives. I owe them my baby, you know,” Khalaf said.

Myers is recovering from surgery, but her future is uncertain.

Rather than feel sorry for herself though, she started having her drawings displayed at Pure Oils in the Layton Hills Mall as a small way to help her family pay for her care.

“It’s just something that makes me happy,” she said.

More about her story can be found on a GoFundMe page set up for her here.

Kaysville teen beats cancer same week as 8th grade graduation

KAYSVILLE, Utah — A teenage girl is sharing her inspiring story of surviving a difficult diagnosis to mark a milestone she and her family didn’t know if she’d live to experience.

14-year-old Reagan Schellhase has had an unusual middle school experience. While most kids spend their young teen years attending school and hanging out with friends, she’s spent most of it confined to her house.

She was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia two and a half years ago and completed coursework for Saint Joseph Catholic School from home.

But despite the illness, she’s kept on top of it.

On Friday, she got ready for graduation.

Donning a new dress and shoes, Reagan put on a light blue gown with help from her mother Angela Greenhalgh.

Stomach butterflies were flying high.

“I’m a little nervous,” Reagan said. “I’m excited to just be able to graduate.”

Reagan grabbed the cap, and she and her mom fiddled with the tassel.

“I probably won’t even cry… this time,” Angela said, with a smile.

One of the last times Angela cried was also for her daughter. It was when Reagan was diagnosed.

Since then, Reagan’s taken more than 1,800 pills, undergone 88 chemotherapy infusions, gone to 136 clinic appointments, had five bone surgeries and all for her one type of cancer.

Reagan and her mom sometimes wondered if Reagan would survive it all.

“A lot of times I was so sick, I just… couldn’t imagine myself making it this far,” she said.

The family pushed through, together. This week, Reagan is celebrating a milestone.

“I finished treatments,” Reagan said. “Last Friday was my last chemo infusion.”

On Wednesday, she took her last medication. The leukemia is in remission, and it comes just days before her 8th grade graduation.

“You’re just the most awesome kid, and I’m really proud of you,” Angela said, giving her daughter a kiss.

At Holy Family Catholic Church Friday evening, Reagan walked across the stage to accept her diploma.

Not only is she graduating — she’s doing so with high honors.

“She’s valedictorian of her class,” Angela said.

Even through it all, Reagan managed to keep up a perfect 4.0 GPA. She also received awards like the Freedom Leadership Award, the Spanish Award and honor tassels.

A perfect way to end 8th grade, and for mom, perfectly proud.

She’ll still have to undergo monthly tests to make sure her leukemia doesn’t relapse.

Reagan said she’s now ready for high school, and to fully regain her health.

“Support systems are there for you,” Reagan said her message is from all of this. “And, if you really try hard, you can push through anything.”

Study: Childhood cancer survivors a ‘sensitive group’ on bad air days

SALT LAKE CITY — We call them “sensitive groups” every time the particulate levels start to spike during winter inversion in Utah’s populated valleys.

They include children, adults and elderly people with respiratory conditions.

Now a new study from the Huntsman Cancer Institute provides powerful evidence of another group that needs to be on the list: survivors of cancer who were diagnosed as children.

Dr. Judy Ou, an epidemiologist working at HCI was the primary author of the study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

“I did not expect to see the results that we were able to show in the paper we published,” said Ou.

Ou’s research looked and more than 3,800 survivors of childhood cancer whose information was available in the “Utah Population Database,” and found twice the expected occurrence of emergency department visits for respiratory issues among the population of survivors, with an especially high rate for those whose cancer treatment includes chemotherapy.

Dr. Douglas Fair, a Pediatric Oncologist, says the research is important, especially as medicine has allowed far more patients to survive.

“In the 1960’s the cure rate for childhood cancer was less than 50 percent, and fortunately with advances in medicine and science it’s somewhere close to 83 percent now,” said Fair.

The study of air pollution focused specifically on emergency visits when particulate pollution known as PM 2.5 was elevated.

Surprisingly to Ou, the study also showed cancer survivors reporting respiratory issues when particulate levels had not reached the common threshold that signals a health warning for “sensitive groups.”