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Woman wins battles with cancer and for employment insurance benefits

A Canadian woman faced an uphill battle when she was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer while on maternity leave from work.

Natalya Rougas was about to return to her job toward the end of her maternity leave when she received her breast cancer news, the CTV Television Network reports. She underwent chemotherapy and a double mastectomy.

In addition to the struggle for her life, Rougas was forced to fight for her employment insurance benefits. Her initial application was turned down by the government because she was unable to work already due to her maternity leave status. Rougas’ appeal to the Employment Insurance Board of Referees was also declined, but an independent arbitrator eventually ruled in her favor.

Rougas reportedly told CTV that she saw the struggle for her life and benefits as interconnected. "It was packaged in the same fight for me and I just had to go ahead and do it," she told the source. "It was definitely all worth it."

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer among women. Roughly 120 out of every 100,000 women develop breast cancer at some point during their lives.
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