Rick Aiello Passes Away After Cancer Battle
- Rick Aiello, the son of the late Danny Aiello, passed away from pancreatic cancer at the age of 65.
- His sister Stacey confirmed the news of her brother’s death. Rick, who appeared in Do The Right Thing, Jungle Fever and Clockers passed away 10 years after his brother Danny III died from the same disease.
- Approximately 10% of pancreatic cancer cases are hereditary. It is recommended that people with first degree relatives who have pancreatic cancer be screened regularly.
He was the son of the late Danny Aiello, who received an Oscar nomination appearing alongside his son in Do the Right Thing.Read More
His death comes just 10 years after his brother Danny III lost his battle with pancreatic cancer. Danny was also in the industry and appeared as his father’s stuntman in a few films before going on to work as a stunt coordinator.
The news of Rick’s death, first reported by TMZ, was confirmed by his sister Stacey.
Much like his father, Rick came late to acting and did not start steadily working in the industry until he was 30. He went on to appear on both the big and small screens, with his biggest successes coming on TV.
He appeared in episodes of The Sopranos, Law & Order, Sex and the City, Ugly Betty, Tales From the Crypt, Dark Justice, NYPD Blue, Diagnosis Murder, Clueless, Early Edition, V.I.P., and 21 Jump Street.
Rick also appeared alongside his dad in The Preppie Murder and the series Dellaventura, which ran for one season on CBS.
His father famously did not start acting until 35, but went on to star in a slew of Hollywood classics, among them The Godfather II, Once Upon a Time in America, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Moonstruck, Prêt-à-Porter and The Professional. His most recognizable role, however, may be his appearance in the music video for Madonna’s 1985 hit “Pappa Don’t Preach.”
Rick moved away from acting in recent years, and for the past decade had worked with a local investment firm.
He lived with his family in Warwick, New York and they were by his bedside when he passed away
Is Pancreatic Cancer Hereditary?
It is believed that 10% of pancreatic cancer cases are hereditary, with a 2009 study linking an increased likelihood of pancreatic cancer to Lynch syndrome.
Lynch syndrome is an inherited condition caused by mutations of DNA mismatch repair genes that makes individuals more susceptible to certain cancers. According to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, Lynch syndrome increases a person’s risk of developing pancreatic cancer nine-fold.
Parents, siblings and children of someone with pancreatic cancer are also considered at high risk for the disease because they are first-degree relatives of the individual. In 2020, the American Gastroenterological Association updated its clinical guidelines for pancreatic cancer screening in high-risk individuals. At the top of the list of best practices was that screening should be considered in first-degree relatives of patients with pancreatic cancer.
“It’s important for people to know there is something you can do,” says Jessica Everett, the study author and a genetic counselor at NYU Langone’s Perlmutter Cancer Center. “If you’re concerned about pancreatic cancer in your family, start by talking to a genetic counselor to learn more about your risk and what options you have.”
You may be considered high risk of developing pancreatic cancer if you carry pathogenic germline variants (PGVs) relevant to pancreatic cancer risk. A PGV is a change in a reproductive cell (sperm or egg) that becomes part of the DNA in the cells of the offspring. Germline variants are passed from parents to their children, and are associated with increased risks of several cancer types, including pancreatic, ovarian and breast cancers. Germline mutations in ATM, BRCA1, BRCA2, CKDN2A, PALB2, PRSS1, STK11, and TP53 are associated with increased risk of pancreatic cancer.
Actor Matthew Modine is one of those who has an increased likelihood, losing two family members to the disease.
The Platoon star, 62, has long been open about the steps he is taking to try and decrease his risk of cancer.
“My father and subsequently my brother died of pancreatic cancer, which is why I live this vegan lifestyle. I think sugar and alcohol (which is basically a form of sugar) have a tremendous impact on the pancreas,” he said in a 2015 interview with the Los Angeles Times.
“I believe that eliminating alcohol and processed foods is vital. Because it takes so much energy for a body to digest food, I regularly fast. … When you fast your body can use that freed up energy for healing.”
Pancreatic Cancer Surveillance
Unlike certain cancers that can be detected early with regular screenings, pancreatic cancer is more difficult to diagnose in its early stages. There is currently no established diagnostic tool for pancreatic cancer. Typically, pancreatic cancer is diagnosed after symptoms appear or if testing for an unrelated condition indicates cancer may present. And often that means the cancer is in an advanced stage.
One of the big challenges of pancreatic cancer is that 85 to 90 percent of patients are diagnosed with advanced disease that can’t be surgically treated, and 5-year survival for this group is less than 10 percent, Everett explains. “For those diagnosed with smaller tumors that can be treated with surgery, survival statistics are dramatically better—60 to 70 percent at five years for tumors under 1 centimeter,” she says. “If we can do a better job of finding people who have increased risk and getting them into screening, it’s an important step towards earlier detection and improved survival.”
A genetic counselor can take you through the genetic testing process and explain the results. Having a relevant PGV doesn’t necessarily mean you will develop pancreatic cancer, but it would indicate that you should make surveillance a high priority. Likewise, even if you don’t have an inherited genetic mutation, simply having a close relative with pancreatic cancer should be enough to participate in a surveillance program.
Guidelines from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network now recommend offering genetic testing to all patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and also to anyone who has a close family member with pancreatic cancer. Testing can be done on a sample of blood or saliva, and can be coordinated by a genetic counselor. You can search for a genetic counselor near you at www.nsgc.org. The testing is often covered by insurance, or can be paid for out of pocket for about $250.
Pancreatic cancer surveillance may involve tests of your blood and/or pancreatic fluids. Surveillance also typically relies on annual imaging tests, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and a specialized upper endoscopy procedure called endoscopic ultrasound. Participating in surveillance may also help contribute to the growing body of data about risk and early detection that is helping doctors and patients around the world.
There is now a consortium of 37 centers across the US and in other countries called PRECEDE (Pancreatic Cancer Early Detection consortium). They are using a shared data platform to track patient data and fully collaborate on projects centering around early detection and eventually prevention. “There is a lot of momentum in research on early detection, and it’s a great time to get involved in helping that research move forward,” explained Everett.
Contributing: James Roland