Vanna White Says Alex Trebek Has a 'Will to Conquer' Cancer After Diagnosis (Exclusive)

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Alex Trebek is like "family" to Vanna White -- and she's confident he'll beat his battle against cancer. 

ET's Brice Sander spoke with the Wheel of Fortune hostess at the 26th Annual Race to Erase MS Gala to honor Selma Blair and the Hausman family in Los Angeles on Friday, where she revealed that Trebek gave her a head's up on his pancreatic cancer diagnosis. 

"Yes, because we're a family," she said when asked if she knew before he went public with his diagnosis on March 6. "We've been together for over 30 years. Even though Jeopardy! is different from Wheel, we're kind of the same."

As for how Trebek is doing, White said "he is hanging in there." "He is a strong man and has such a will to conquer this. Don’t be surprised if he doesn’t do it," she added. 

White -- who just celebrated 7,000 episodes of Wheel of Fortune and said she'll be "turning letters for a long time" to come -- is all about supporting her friends. "One of the important things is, Nancy Davidson’s a dear friend of mine and has been for 30 years, so I’m here to support her and all her hard work in what she does to find a cure for this disease," she said of Friday's event. 

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During an appearance on CBS Sunday Morning this week, Trebek revealed that he was at the "beginning" of his fight against stage four pancreatic cancer when he announced his diagnosis on the Jeopardy! stage. "I had just been informed," he shared. 

Earlier this year, the 78-year-old suffered a pain in his belly that wouldn't go away. His doctors brought him in for tests. "And after it was over, he came to me and said, 'Alex, you were right. There was a bulge in your stomach the size of a small fist.' So, that was the beginning of it all," he explained. 

"This got really bad," Trebek confessed of his struggles early on in his treatment. "I was on the floor writhing in pain. It went from a 3 to an 11. And it happened three or four times that day while we were taping. So, that was a little rough on me."

The TV icon wasn't able to deal with his pain privately. "I taped the show, and then I made it to the dressing room on one occasion, just barely, before I writhed in pain and cried in pain. I had 15 minutes before the next show. So, I got myself together, and spasms of that kind usually last about 10 to 15 minutes. 'All right, here we go again,'" he recalled on CBS Sunday Morning. "But I got through it. And the producers were very kind. They said, 'Look, if you don't wanna do the show we'll just cancel taping.' I said, 'No. We're here. We're doing the shows.'"

Despite the devastating news, the 78-year-old didn't miss a day of work -- even during chemotherapy. "It wouldn't be right for me to walk away from this if I can possibly do it. And I managed to do it," Trebek said. "So, what's the big deal?"

See more on Trebek in the video below. 

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