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Cancer’s Impact on Long Term Disability Claims

Monday, March 28, 2005

Are you able to work after a diagnosis and treatment for cancer? Is this a better measure of treatment success for working age people? Most cancer survivors are able to stay on the job, according to a new study found in the current issue of the journal Cancer and reported by Reuters.
The nation’s largest long term disability insurance company, UnumProvident, recently reported that cancer is the leading cause of long term disability claims in the United States. According to the new study, survivors of early detectable cancers ( breast, prostate, skin, thyroid and uterus) had the lowest risk of having to quit work. Survivors of other cancers, such as brain cancer, lymphoma and leukemia, had the highest rates of work disability.
The challenge for cancer specialists is to identify and help their patients with employment problems. Doctors need to ” reassure employers that most cancer survivors are going to live a long time and will be just as productive as anyone else”. One of my favorite organizations is New York based Cancer Care. They helped my good friend Tim successfully battle Hodgkin’s Disease as a young man. After beating Hodgkin’s, he went on to graduate with me from St. John’s Law School and became an Assistant District Attorney in Nassau County. Cancer didn’t keep him down – it just made him tougher. Just ask the criminals he sent to jail!

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