Mother-daughter fight breast cancer together

They tested negative for an inherited case of breast cancer but this mother and daughter were both diagnosed within months of each other.

By IU Health Senior Journalist T.J. Banes,

One of the first questions people want to know: “Is this genetic?” The answer for Tara Haisley and Bette Jarvis is “No.”

It was just something that happened. They were both diagnosed with breast cancer within four months of each other. Both were diagnosed through a mammogram at IU Health.

It was August 2019 when Tara learned the results of her annual mammogram. The first spot was on her left side; a second spot was later discovered on her right side. Under the care of Dr. Carla Fisher she underwent three surgeries to remove the masses and growth in the lymph nodes. Radiation followed. She remains in the care of hematologist/oncologist Dr. Erin Newton.

Jarvis was diagnosed in November and underwent surgery to remove the lump and infected lymph nodes. Four weeks of radiation followed and she was given an “all clear.”

After a recent check up, Haisley entered the waiting room at IU Health Simon Cancer Center greeted by her mom, father, stepmom and cousin. She offered a “thumbs up” that was followed by hugs of joy. Haisley turned 50 this month and says this is the best gift of all.

The mother and daughter live together in their Jonesboro home. Haisley is Jarvis’ only daughter.

“This has brought us so much closer. We’ve worked off each other’s strength,” said Jarvis. They enjoy gardening together and camping. When they were going through treatment, sometimes that camping meant a “stay-cation.” They pitched a tent in their back yard, slept on an air mattress and cooked over a fire pit.