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Cleveland mother and daughter battle breast cancer together

May 13, 2018 GMT

Mother’s Day is a celebration of the bond between mothers and children. For Jean Roberts and daughter Briana, both of Cleveland, the bond is even stronger through their shared survival of breast cancer.

Jean and Briana are both registered nurses. Jean is recently retired from the Conroe Regional Medical Center, where her Briana currently works.

The family’s world changed in May 2015 when Jean was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“It was pretty far advanced when they finally caught it,” she said.

For Briana, the experience was also devastating as she was pregnant with her own daughter.

“My world turned upside down,” she said. “It was a complete shock and a life changing experience.”

Jean went to the Cancer Treatment Center of America to have chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Her treatments finished with reconstructive surgery in December 2016.

“As far as I know, everything is negative,” she said.

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Briana admired her mother’s courage, noting that she took her diagnosis “with grace and bravery.”

“I literally fell apart emotionally for weeks,” said Briana. “But watching her bravely go through her chemo and radiation gave me hope that her survival was ensured.”

The treatment pushed both mother and daughter to their limits, with Briana fearing she would lose her “best friend.”

Jean’s treatments damaged her feet, forcing her to retire.

In June 2017, the family received more bad news as Briana was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“We couldn’t believe she was being diagnosed as I was,” said Jean.

Briana’s diagnosis is thankfully not aggressive. She has just finished her treatments at the Cancer Treatment Center of America in Tulsa, Okla., and is already back at work. She cites her mother’s strength as a source of inspiration.

“I thought if my mom can do this, so can I,” said Briana. “Her strength gave me hope for my diagnosis.”

Briana believes her mother’s support is what helped push her through her battle.

“It helped so much to already have watched her fight cancer and to follow her example of strength and bravery,” she said.

Cancer runs in the Roberts’ family, they say. Jean’s mother died from the disease. Naturally, Briana is concerned about her young daughter’s future health. The family has decided to fight cancer through prevention.

“We’re trying to do the diet thing and exercise,” said Jean.

Jean says the family is engaging in eating organic food and removing sugar from their diet.

With both mother and daughter having survived their bouts with cancer, Jean says the nightmare it causes can be overcome with strength and faith.

“You can’t dwell on it. You can’t have a pity party,” she said. “It doesn’t have to be a death sentence. You can beat it. We’re doing it. We’re beating it.”

jmcadams@hcnonline.com