Crowdfunding and the High Cost of Cancer

Sep 18, 2019, 06:10 PM
In this week’s episode of the “Cure Talks Cancer” podcast, we spoke with Benjamin Breyer, M.D., about a phenomenon that’s raising big questions, big concerns and big money across the cancer landscape: crowdfunding.

As cancer progresses and financial alternatives grow fewer, many diagnosed patients in the US are turning to online crowdfunding to soften the financial blow and make ends meet. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association’s Internal Medicine issue paints a stark portrait: since the popular crowdfunding platform launched in May of 2010, patients, advocates and caregivers have piloted more than 37,000 fundraising campaigns specifically geared toward overcoming cancer’s monetary challenges. 
For Breyer, an associate professor at the University of California, San Francisco’s Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and the lead author of the study, mapping and understanding the crowdfunding phenomenon is an important step in the journey toward increasing advocacy for reduced healthcare costs.
“I became really interested in hearing some of these people’s stories,” Breyer said in an interview with CURE. “The more we read their narratives and understood what they were going through, it really stood out to us that for a lot of people, getting care for cancer can be financially devastating.”