Alex Trebek opens up about experiencing 'moments of depression' amid cancer battle

Alex Trebek is getting candid about his battle with pancreatic cancer. 

In a new interview with ABC's Michael Strahan, the Jeopardy! host and his wife of 29 years, Jean, discussed how his illness has affected their lives. Trebek admitted that well-wishes from fans can make him particularly emotional. 

"I don't mind getting choked up. My oncologist told me one of the symptoms, if you will, of pancreatic cancer is that you get these moments of depression, sadness," he shared. 

Trebek first revealed his diagnosis -- stage four pancreatic cancer -- in March. "I knew as soon as the doctor came back and mentioned the pancreas. I said, 'Uh-oh, it's going to be cancer,'" he said in his interview with Strahan. 

Jean, meanwhile, expressed how hard it is to see her husband "in pain and I can't help him."

“It’s always tough for caretakers," Trebek responded, "because she has to deal with her worrying about my well-being and also dealing with… I’m not always the most pleasant person to be around when I’m experiencing severe pain or depression, and she has to tread lightly around me."

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Alex Trebek through the years
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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)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JUNE 19: "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek presents the Hart Memorial Trophy during the 2019 NHL Awards at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on June 19, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
PASADENA, CALIFORNIA - MAY 05: Alex Trebek, winner of the Outstanding Game Show Host award, poses at the 46th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards - Press Room at Pasadena Civic Center on May 05, 2019 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
PASADENA, CALIFORNIA - MAY 05: Alex Trebek accepts the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show Host onstageduring the 46th annual Daytime Emmy Awards at Pasadena Civic Center on May 05, 2019 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
GOOD MORNING AMERICA - Alex Trebek discusses his cancer diagnosis with Robin Roberts on "Good Morning America," Wednesday, May 1, airing on the Walt Disney Television Network. (Photo by Paula Lobo/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images) ALEX TREBEK
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 13: Special Guest Alex Trebek attends the screening of 'Wuthering Heights' at the 2019 TCM 10th Annual Classic Film Festival on April 13, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Presley Ann/Getty Images for TCM)
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)
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The television host's cancer was in "near remission" earlier this year, but he revealed in September there had been a resurgence in the disease. Trebek said at the time that doctors had decided he'd have to undergo chemotherapy again.

“I have learned something in the past year and it’s this: We don’t know when we’re going to die," Trebek said. "Because of the cancer diagnosis, it’s no longer an open-ended life, it’s a closed-ended life because of the terrible … survival rates of pancreatic cancer. Because of that, and something else that is operating here, people all over America and abroad have decided they want to let me know now, while I’m alive, about the impact that I’ve been having on their existence."

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