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Research Letter
September 9, 2019

Use of an Online Crowdfunding Platform for Unmet Financial Obligations in Cancer Care

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Urology, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco
  • 2Hospital Universitario San Ignacio, Bogota, Colombia
  • 3Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco
JAMA Intern Med. Published online September 9, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.3330

Technologic innovations, expensive new therapies, and improved access to treatment have all contributed to the rising costs of oncologic care in the United States.1 The financial consequences for patients and their families are substantial. Patients with cancer often borrow money, avoid leisure activities, decrease food spending, sell possessions, go into debt, and/or declare bankruptcy,2 and they are at greater risk for disability or unemployment.3 These consequences are particularly great for patients who are underinsured or uninsured. Recently, online crowdfunding platforms are being increasingly used to supplement insurance and defray expenses, even for experimental and unproven treatments.4 We sought to characterize the use of crowdfunding to support oncology care needs, including any association between insurance status and other characteristics.

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