In late October, Banali, 67, revealed that he had been battling pancreatic cancer since April this year.
The shocking revelation came after Banali missed a handful of live performances — as he noted in his initial announcement that he hadn’t missed a gig in 38 years.
Speaking with Yahoo Entertainment, Banali addressed such topics including his family history with cancer, his diagnosis and returning to the stage again.
When asked about his family’s battles with cancer, Banali spoke on both of his parents’ cancer diagnoses.
“Yeah, understanding that -- that my father died from pancreatic cancer and my mother died from lung cancer, and she wasn't even a smoker. For my entire adult life, I always felt like I was in the crosshairs, dodging that bullet," he said. "And on April 17 of this year, that bullet hit home."
Banali also revealed that he found out about his cancer “completely and totally by accident.”
“I started getting severe pains in my right calf… I was very weak and I walked about 10 steps and I was out of breath. My wife convinced me to go to the emergency room," he said in the interview. "They did an ultrasound of my right calf, and then they did a scan of my upper body, and what they found out initially was that I had a blood clot in my right calf, one in my left lung, one of my right lung, and one in the saddle in between the two lungs."
“When they did the scans, they caught a little bit of my liver and then saw that something was not right," Banali continued. "They did the lower scan, and that's when they found out what the problem was. And the blood clots are a symptom or indicative of having this type of cancer… the floor doctor unceremoniously comes in and tells me that I have stage 4 pancreatic cancer, that [it] has metastasized to the liver, and that he ‘really liked my music.’”
Banali learned that pancreatic cancer was dangerous because patients never see it coming.
“I've learned from the PanCAN organization that over 57,000 persons a year are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, but it has no symptoms," he told Yahoo Entertainment. "And that’s one of the reasons it's such a dangerous and difficult cancer to treat, is because by the time you find out you have pancreatic cancer, it's already gone past stage 1, 2, 3, and 4 — and there is no stage 5."
Amidst his cancer diagnosis, Banali expressed concerns for his fellow Quiet Riot bandmates.
“My thought was, "How do I keep my guys working?” Because they all have bills, they all have families. So I worked out a plan that kept the band working all through the summer festival period. … There were some concert promoters that I did have to talk off the ledge, though.”
After taking off some time for recovery, Banali insisted on his return to the stage and noted he was at “100 percent power.”
“As soon as I sat down behind the kit, I was at 100 percent power — no mistakes, no errors, no missing any parts or anything like that. I was just looking at my three guys in front of me, and every once in awhile, I'd play something and they’d turn around, and there'd be big smiles all around,” the “Metal Health” drummer noted.
“That was just reassuring that I'm on the right path, as much as I can be within the situation that I find myself in. So it was great. The place was sold out, and the amount of love and support was across the board.”