Alex Trebek admits he was '[writhing] in pain' between 'Jeopardy!' tapings amid pancreatic cancer battle

In his first in-home interview since going public with his battle with pancreatic cancerAlex Trebek discussed the painful struggles he faced – sometimes during a 15-minute break in between Jeopardy tapings – after learning of his diagnosis.

In an interview with CBS Sunday Morning, Trebek, 78, said that he had been diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer while Jeopardy was still in production when his doctors discovered a "small fist" sized lump inside his abdomen.

Still, Trebek, who has filmed nearly 8,000 episodes, was adamant that the show went on, despite sometimes barely making it to his dressing room to "[writhe] in pain."

26 PHOTOS
Alex Trebek through the years
See Gallery
Alex Trebek through the years

TO TELL THE TRUTH

Pictured: Host Alex Trebek

(Photo by Joey Del Valle/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

HIGH ROLLERS

Pictured: Host Alex Trebek

(Photo by NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

CLASSIC CONCENTRATION -- Season 2

Pictured: Co-host Marjorie Goodson, host Alex Trebek

(Photo by Gary Null/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

HIGH ROLLERS

Pictured: Host Alex Trebek, dice girl Ruta Lee

(Photo by NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

CLASSIC CONCENTRATION -- Season 2

Pictured: Co-host Marjorie Goodson, host Alex Trebek

(Photo by Gary Null/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

CHEERS -- 'What is... Cliff Clavin?' Episode 14

Pictured: John Ratzenberger as Cliff Clavin, Alex Trebek as Himself

(Kim Gottlieb-Walker/NBCU Photo Bank)

HIGH ROLLERS

Pictured: Host Alex Trebek

(Photo by Ron Tom/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 01: Zsa Zsa Gabor and Alex Trebek (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Game Show Host Alex Trebek and actress Beverly Sassoon attending 'Scott Newman Benefit Dinner' on November 8, 1985 at the Century Plaza Hotel in Century City, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Alex Trebek, circa 1984. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images)
CLASSIC CONCENTRATION -- Season 2 -- Pictured: Host Alex Trebek (Photo by NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Alex Trebek attends Third Annual Franciscan Games on September 30, 1989 at Forest Hills Stadium in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)

CHEERS -- 'What is... Cliff Clavin?' Episode 14

 Air Date 01/18/1990

Pictured: Alex Trebek as Himself, John Ratzenberger as Cliff Clavin

(Kim Gottlieb-Walker/NBCU Photo Bank)

Canadian American television star Alex Trebek has been the host of the syndicated game show Jeopardy! since 1984.

(Photo by ASTRID RIECKEN For The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Host of 'Jeopardy!' Alex Trebek attends a press conference to discuss the upcoming Man V. Machine 'Jeopardy!' competition at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center on January 13, 2011 in Yorktown Heights, New York.

(Photo by Ben Hider/Getty Images)

Alex Trebek hosts the 2012 National Geographic Bee Championship Round at the National Geographic Society on May 24, 2012 in Washington, DC.

(Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images)

"BIG FAN" 

 Three football buffs step up to challenge Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers, and special guest Alex Trebek stops by to give host Andy Richter a few pointers.

(Nicole Wilder/ABC via Getty Images) 

Alex Trebek speaks during a rehearsal before a taping of Jeopardy! Power Players Week at DAR Constitution Hall on April 21, 2012 in Washington, DC.

(Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images)

Alex Trebek attends the ''SNL 40th Anniversary Special' at Rockfeller Plaza in New York City. 

(Photo by Lars Niki/Corbis via Getty Images)

TV game show host Alex Trebek is interviewed at the 'Jeopardy!' Hall of Fame Sony Pictures Studios tour ribbon cutting ceremony at Sony Pictures Studios on September 20, 2011 in Culver City, California.

(Photo by Beck Starr/WireImage)

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 20: 'Jeopardy!' host Alex Trebek attends the 2016 USO Gala on October 20, 2016 at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images)
TO TELL THE TRUTH - Ashley Graham, Jenna Elfman, Donald Faison and Alex Trebek make up the celebrity panel on 'To Tell the Truth,' Episode 310, airing SUNDAY, JULY 1 (10:00-11:00 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network. (Lisa Rose/ABC via Getty Images) ALEX TREBEK
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 30: TV personality Alex Trebek attends the 150th anniversary of Canada's Confederation at the Official Residence of Canada on June 30, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 09: 'Jeopardy!' host Alex Trebek speaks as he is inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Broadcasting Hall of Fame during the NAB Achievement in Broadcasting Dinner at the Encore Las Vegas on April 9, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. NAB Show, the trade show of the National Association of Broadcasters and the world's largest electronic media show, runs through April 12 and features more than 1,700 exhibitors and 102,000 attendees. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 19: Alex Trebek attends 'Who is Alex Trebek? Celebrating 35 seasons of Jeopardy!' at 92nd Street Y on February 19, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Santiago Felipe/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

“This got really bad. I was on the floor writhing in pain. It went from a three to an 11. And I just couldn’t believe. I didn’t know what was happening,” Trebek says. “And it happened three or four times a day while we were taping. So that was a little – little rough on me.”

Trebek told CBS that he would take the 15-minute breaks in between filming episodes of the show, which films a week's worth of episodes in one day, to "get myself together," adding that his spasms lasted about ten to 15 minutes.

"The producers were very kind," Trebek said. "They said, ‘Look, if you don’t want to do the show, we’ll just cancel taping.’ I said, ‘No. We’re here. We’re doing the shows.’”

The unflappable host, upon learning his diagnosis, immediately underwent chemotherapy, and he admitted that he's curious if eagle-eyed fans will notice he had to wear a hairpiece.

"On air I’m told that there were times – when the hairpiece looked better than my real hair. So we’ll see how people react to that. We have the summer months off. So hopefully my own hair will grow back. Because I like my own hair,” Trebek says.

Trebek's full interview will air at 9 a.m. EST on May 12 on CBS Sunday Morning.

Related: Stars react to Alex Trebek cancer diagnosis

11 PHOTOS
Stars react to Alex Trebek cancer diagnosis
See Gallery
Stars react to Alex Trebek cancer diagnosis
I’ve said this before but Alex Trebek is in a way the last Cronkite: authoritative, reassuring TV voice you hear ev… https://t.co/WsjwLOaVY9
One thing I know for a fact: Alex is very aware of how much he means to millions of people, and how we will be pull… https://t.co/DF34dyjaML
And I hope some very good L.A. oncologists are getting ready to have their mispronunciations corrected.
Sending best wishes to Alex Trebek, aka Alex Lebek, host of RiddleQuest https://t.co/1CYARVlsil
Thinking and praying for fellow game show host and absolute legend Alex Trebek as he starts his fight with pancreat… https://t.co/rRgHUW0YX6
Alex Trebek is hands down the person I've seen on my TV the most over the years and @Jeopardy is one of my favorite… https://t.co/tkLhQx2qRI
Alex Trebek - you are one of the greatest leaders and class acts in show business. Your level of grace, even in the… https://t.co/4oppsDv3Rx
Robin & I are sending all of our love and prayers to Alex Trebek. He’s one strong guy and will fight this! https://t.co/nXy41nxaZT
The Sajak family is deeply saddened to hear of Alex Trebek’s struggle with cancer. Our hearts go out to him and his… https://t.co/gft250CAg6
Sending all my love, thoughts and prayers to Alex Trebek. You are my hero. ❤️❤️🙏🙏 https://t.co/CcXhVtqUT8
I just want to say to Alex Trebek I know you can kick cancers ass. You are the true daily double and the ultimate J… https://t.co/QebZtnOMeS
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Read Full Story

Sign up for Entertainment Insider by AOL to get the hottest pop culture news delivered straight to your inbox!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.