U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro had surgery to remove cancerous tumors

U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, speaks about a new federal report on the underrepresentation of Latinos in the media industry at the National Press Club in Washington on Oct. 5, 2022. (Lenin Nolly/Sipa Usa Via Reuters, Lenin Nolly/Sipa Usa Via Reuters)

Sign up for The Brief, The Texas Tribune’s daily newsletter that keeps readers up to speed on the most essential Texas news.

Recommended Videos

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, was diagnosed with cancer and had surgery Monday to remove tumors in his gastrointestinal tract, according to his office.

Castro discovered the tumors last summer and had surgery at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. The 48-year-old Democrat plans to stay in San Antonio for several weeks to recover before returning to Washington.

“My prognosis is good,” Castro said in a statement. “Thank you to the doctors, nurses, and medical staff at MD Anderson Cancer Center and the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio for their care and treatment and thank you to my family for their love and support.”

Gastrointestinal neuroendocrine tumors are rare and often grow slowly with no symptoms in the early stages, according to the National Cancer Institute.

A doctor flagged the potential tumors after Castro was in a car crash with a wild boar in Bilbao, Spain, last July and had an MRI, according to a column by San Antonio Express-News’ Cary Clack, who previously served as Castro’s communications and district director. Clack wrote that the tumors moved from Castro’s small intestine to his liver and that the congressman will continue receiving monthly injections of Lanreotide to slow their growth.

Castro has represented his San Antonio-based district since 2013 after a 10-year stint in the Texas House of Representatives. He was appointed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to build the case against President Donald Trump during Trump’s second impeachment and currently serves on the House Foreign Affairs and Intelligence committees.

He and his family received an outpouring of support following Monday’s announcement.

“Heidi and I are praying for your healing,” tweeted U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. “Cancer SUCKS. My mom is a 2-time cancer survivor-- we’re with you in your fight to beat this horrible disease.”

“MD Anderson is the best - you’ll beat this. Godspeed,” tweeted U.S. Rep. Chip Roy, R-Austin, who is himself a cancer survivor.

“Aly and I are keeping you and your beautiful family in our thoughts, and praying for a speedy and full recovery,” tweeted U.S. Rep. Colin Allred, D-Dallas. “We’re so glad to hear about the positive prognosis, and hope you can get some rest. See you back in Washington soon brother.”

“He’s recovering well and looks forward to getting home soon. I’m looking forward to him beating me on the tennis courts again soon!” tweeted Julián Castro, the congressman’s twin brother who previously served as mayor of San Antonio and Housing and Urban Development secretary under President Barack Obama. Julián Castro ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.

Joaquin Castro has three children, including an infant daughter born last May.

Disclosure: MD Anderson Cancer Center has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune’s journalism. Find a complete list of them here.