Here is some truly wonderful news to mark October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month: New research from Unum reveals that return-to-work rates for people on short-term disability claims due to breast cancer more than doubled from 2001 to 2007, rising from 28.8% to 59.4%.

In cases of long-term disability, the rates rose more than 6%, from 47% to 53.6%.

Told ya it was wonderful news.

According to Diane Garofalo, senior vice president of disability benefits for Unum, the rising RTW rates mean "people are experiencing more effective, less debilitating treatments, but it also means they are returning to the sense of normalcy and routine that can be so beneficial during a difficult time."

Which, as an employer and just an empathetic outsider, that’s all you could really wish for. (Other than, of course, for employees not to have to suffer cancer in the first place.)

Cancer has been the leading cause of long-term disability claims for Unum for the last nine years, and breast cancer consistently is the most common type, accounting for nearly one in four long-term disability cancer claims.

In addition to being the leading cause of long-term disability cancer claims, breast cancer is responsible for nearly one in five of Unum’s short-term disability cancer claims.

So, although employees may not value disability benefits as much as you’d like, you’re clearly doing the right thing offering these benefits and continuing to promote them.

Keep fighting the good fight, and know that in doing so you may be saving an employee and their family from financial ruin.

According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women, except for skin cancers. During 2010, about 207,090 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women.

And although BCAM is nearly over, click here to read more about how you can Think Pink for the remainder of the month.

Share your inspiring stories of workplace BCAM celebrations and/or breast cancer survivor stories in the comments.

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