Estela Casas announced Sept. 14 she had just joined a group every woman dreads. The local celebrity and KVIA-TV news anchor has breast cancer, and announced it to her viewers to call attention to the disease.
Casas has been part of El Paso’s viewership for 35 years and through her long career she has become a respected and admired personality, far more than a news anchor.
This is not the first time that Casas has shared news about her medical experiences and procedures with the public. In the past the public has been with Casas through her pregnancies and her short bout with thyroid cancer, which is in remission.
“I think our job as journalists is to inform the public, to not only tell the stories and talk about the issues but something in a very personal level, I think it’s my responsibility as a woman – as a mom, as a community member to tell women that they need to take care of themselves and this is my journey,” Casas said.
What started with a routine tetanus shot became another arduous journey through cancer. There was a bump on Casas’ shoulder that wouldn’t heal, a physical therapist friend of hers urged her to go to a doctor for a check up. The following days would change Casas’ life.
“It all happened so fast. It happened, Saturday, I get the ultrasound, Monday I get the call from the doctor that I need a biopsy, I get the biopsy on Tuesday. I see the surgeon’s face because he did my thyroid surgery. I knew, I knew when I saw him.”
Casas has been a long-time advocate of cancer awareness. In 2010 when she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer she didn’t hesitate to invite the public into her life just like she didn’t hesitate this time around. But this time the battle is different.
Casas was diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer, which strikes only two percent of women who get breast cancer. This means that the cancer is located in both breasts.
“This is different, this is harder because it’s chemo. Chemo, it kills most of the time your bad cells and your good cells. I have to wear a wig, I’m bald, I have very few eyelashes, and this being part of my job. It’s kind of hard, it’s kind of difficult but it’s part of the process,” Casas said.
Casas goes through chemotherapy every 21 days and she expected to finish the therapy on Dec. 28.
One of the ways that Casas is surpassing her current hardship is by creating the Stand with Estela Fund. This fund has already received donations of up to $50,000 by the Hospitals of Providence.
“I’m super blessed. I have the community right behind me, praying for me. But not everybody has that. I just wanted to share some of that, and that’s why I started this fund,” Casas said.
As a prominent member of the community of El Paso Casas has taken an active role to turn her adversities into opportunities.
“I never ask myself “why not me?” I’m learning “why me?” I think I can be a voice. I am a voice for other women who don’t have a voice. God picked me for a reason. So, I just accept it.”