A University of California, San Francisco study reveals that U.S. cancer patients are turning to crowdsourcing websites to pay for medical travel, alternative treatments, and even funeral expenses.
Published in JAMA Internal Medicine, the study examined cancer patients’ use of GoFundMe cancer campaigns used to pay for medical care reports.
The UCSF team reviewed 20 of the most common cancers in America, such as breast cancer, leukemia, lung, brain, colon and pancreatic cancer for example. They developed an algorithm to scour 37,344 GoFundMe cancer campaigns last October. In addition, they reviewed 1,035 campaigns, assessing personal and financial self-reported patient information, reported Becker’s Hospital Review.
The UCSF research team found that based on their designed random sample of 1,035 form the larger group:
- On average, cancer patients set a fundraising goal of $10,000 and raised about 25 percent of the money.
- The average donation obtained by cancer campaigns was $2,125.
- Cancer campaigns were most often to pay medical bills (41 percent), medical travel expenses (25.3 percent) and nonmedical bills for things like childcare and funeral expenses (23.2 percent).
- Nearly 2 percent of cancer campaigns mentioned alternative treatments.
- On average, campaigns for underinsured cancer patients asked for $10,000 more than campaigns that did not mention insurance.
- Campaigns for underinsured cancer patients accounted for 26.2 percent of studied campaigns.
- About 30 percent online campaign postings were done by a third party.
Andrew J. Cohen, MD, Department of Urology, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco