How crowdfunding is being used for ‘dubiuous, possibly dangerous’ alternative cancer treatments

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It’s become a heartbreakingly common sight on the internet: People using crowdfunding sites to raise money for their expensive health care, including cancer treatment. But a new report published [September 12] in the BMJ suggests that desperate people are often using this money to pursue dubious, possibly dangerous treatments from unscrupulous charlatans.

According to the analysis, around £8 million ($10.4 million) has been raised for alternative cancer treatments, meaning those not covered by the country’s public health system, since 2012.

The majority of this money was used for treatments provided outside of the UK, via privately funded clinics in countries including the U.S., Mexico, and Thailand. Many of these clinics, as well as the doctors leading them, have been criticized and even officially punished for their medical claims and activities.

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In Texas, for example, Polish-trained doctor Stanislaw Burzynski has run the Burzynski Clinic for decades, claiming that his experimental antineoplastons can treat even the most terminal of cancer cases. But antineoplastons have never been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, nor has any randomized clinical trial ever shown them to be effective.

According to the report, hundreds of thousands of pounds have been raised for people to visit the Burzynski Clinic.

GoFundMe told the BMJ it would be “taking proactive steps” to better inform its users about these clinics.

Read full, original post: Crowdfunding Sites Are Putting Money in the Pockets of Cancer Quacks, Report Finds

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