In this image from video posted on YouTube on Aug 11, 2018, Michelle Drapeau, a stomach cancer patient in West Palm Beach, Fla., speaks about her condition. Drapeau set up a GoFundMe account to help pay for her medical expenses. Drapeau has raised about $7,000 for homeopathy and other alternative remedies since being diagnosed with advanced stomach cancer in February 2017. "I wanted to make sure I explored every and all options," Drapeau said. "It's vital for everyone to have that opportunity." (Courtesy Michelle Drapeau via AP)

Desperate & duped? GoFundMe means big bucks for dubious care

October 23, 2018 - 11:01 am

A new study found that people seeking dubious, potentially harmful treatment for cancer and other ailments raised nearly $7 million over two years from crowdfunding sites.

The results echo recent research on campaigns for stem cell therapies. And they raise more questions about an increasingly popular way to help pay for costly, and sometimes unproven, medical care.

The study was published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Most solicitations studied were on GoFundMe. The most numerous were for homeopathy or naturopathy for cancer.

An American Cancer Society expert says it's important to consider that despite considerable progress against cancer and other illnesses, conventional treatment can't cure every patient. And that may drive some to costly unconventional treatments out of desperation.

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