Crowdfunding for medical care is gaining incredible popularity. At the same time, the expense for both health insurance and personal expenditures keeps rising. As shown in a recent study posted by JAMAIM (Journal of American Medical Association’s Internal Medicine) on September 9, unpaid medical costs were the most pressing demand in crowdfunding projects for cancer patients. According to the review of over 1000 campaigns, 41% wanted funding to foot hospital bills, whereas a quarter wished to cash to support their medical trips. People without insurance or disabled people comprised 26% population of the campaigns. While the ACA (Affordable Care Act) cut down the number of people without insurance, the authors point out that “every patient did not achieve cost reduction strategies.” says JAMA Internal Medicine.
Causes and Prevention of Cancer
It’s difficult to pinpoint why a person gets cancer while others do not. But analysis has depicted that some risk factors may raise a person’s possibilities of developing cancer. Conversely, some elements have been related to a decreased cancer risk. Sometimes these are referred to as protective risk variables or simply protective factors.)
Drug or other chemical exposure, and some habits, are all cancer risk elements, and they also entail things that people have no power over, such as age and genetic predisposition. In addition, the family background of some cancers may indicate the presence of a hereditary cancer syndrome.
Some of the most-studied or suspected risk factors for cancer include:
· Chronic Inflammation
· Cancer-Causing Substances
· Infectious Agents
While most of these risk variables may be prevented, factors like aging cannot be avoided. Actions made to reduce cancer risk are referred to as cancer prevention. Keeping a good lifestyle, shunning recognized cancer-causing chemicals, and using cancer-prevention drugs or vaccinations are all examples of cancer prevention. It would help if you enforced the preventions strictly because once the wine tasting sensation comes, the cancer is now in a critical stage.
No matter your blood group or genotype, the worst habit you must quit is smoking (you’re addicted, try your best to leave it). The type of blood cancer that develops as one of the side effects of smoking is deadly – acute myeloid leukemia and they affect the two major types of blood cells in the body. So you must take preventive measures and quit any life-threatening habits that could lead to cancer development.
Why Do Cancer Patients Turn To Cancer Crowdfunding
Cancer patients now to this ideal platform with the high possibility of saving life via crowdfunding. Unlike going for loans with choking interest rates, online crowdfunding campaigns are preferred by cancer and covid-19 patients to pay for their medical bills for unproven therapies, like stem cell-based treatments, and costly standard medical therapies like CAR-T cell therapy.
Since Amy Abernethy, the Managing Director of Duke Cancer Institute, Durham, North Carolina, invented the phrase “financial toxicity” to characterize an “unexpected event” commonly faced by people with cancer, it has become a registered phrase within the cancer care context. The economic implications of cancer treatment can be enormous, particularly for those who have no health insurance or are less privileged.
Comparing crowdfunding and P2P lending
Crowdfunding and P2P (peer-to-peer) loans have become popular ways to help those in need. Although both crowdfunding and peer-to-peer loans entail other individuals lending you funds, they differ significantly in how you obtain those funds and your obligations after you have them. So, relating to medical issues, crowdfunding may be a better option than peer-to-peer financing.
Crowdfunding for medical causes like getting medical devices or treating fungal infections and lymph nodes, especially for cancer patients, is a method of gathering money from many individuals. You only narrate your cause and set a fund goal based on the treatment options of your issue. People will read your story and contribute to meeting your specified amount so you can get the cancer treatment you need.
Many crowdfunding sites are available to make the procedure as simple as possible. You’ve possibly come across GoFundMe, for example. There are, however, crowdfunding platforms for a variety of special requirements. For example, the platform mentioned above offers crowdfunding exclusively for medically challenged people.
On the other hand, peer-to-peer lending is business fundraising in which individual investors, rather than traditional credit unions or banks, give capital for specific business purposes. Commercial loans or credit scores/lines are the most common forms of peer-to-peer financing. Investment managers are in charge of putting money up, although they usually do it through a credit facility (like StreetShares or Funding Circle).
These platforms frequently aggregate money from many P2P clients to issue business loans. However, thanks to P2P lending networks, the borrower and the lender never meet in most situations. Instead, the loan platform serves as a go-between. As a result, the borrower submits an application, is approved, and pays back the loan via the platform.
Since most loan borrowers use the money for health-related issues, repaying the loan becomes difficult. But with medical crowdfunding, they never have to pay back. The good thing about loans is that they come with payment plans so you can repay gradually, while crowdfunding for cancer patients never needs you to repay.
The phenomenon of Crowdfunding in the Healthcare
As cancer grows and economic opportunities decrease, many recently affected patients in the United States resort to internet crowdfunding as the last hope of survival. As of May 2010, when the well-known crowdfunding medium (GoFundMe.com) came into existence, advocates, caregivers, and patients have piloted over 37,000 fundraising events tailored specifically toward conquering cancer’s economic pressures, says JAMA Internal Medicine in their recent study.
Furthermore, according to the managing director and associate professor at UC (University of California), San Francisco, as well as the Head author of the research, – Benjamin Breyer – highlighting and understanding the phenomenon of crowdfunding is a vital move into the journey to enhance support for reduced medical costs.
Understanding Patient Crowdfunding
According to Breyer, at a meeting with CURE, hearing some patients’ stories engaging in crowdfunding can be interesting. “The more we heard their stories and realized what they were dealing with, the more we realized that cancer treatment may be financially terrible for many individuals. Deductibles are costly, and travel for treatments is extremely costly.”
Breyer and his coworkers utilized GoFundMe.com search queries to find an aggregate of 37,344 cancer initiatives between the site’s launch date, May 2010 and October 2018. This helped to understand the phenomena of patient crowdfunding clearly. They chose 1,035 campaigns to survey in-depth with the help of a randomizer to look for details concerning a patient’s cancer type, employment status, age, treatment plans, immune system, prognosis, and how they intend to use any funds raised. Evaluating the stories patients tell to describe their reasons for requesting financial support helped Breyer and his coworkers understand patient crowdfunding phenomena.
The authors discovered that 41% of the total population (424 patients) intended to use the funds for medical expenditures. In addition, 25% (262 patients) planned to compensate for the medical travel cost, and 23% (240 patients) planned to clear other debts accumulated due to missed work time, lost jobs, or embezzlement to their treatments. Finally, roughly 2% of patients (18 in number) would utilize their cash to pay for complementary medical therapies.
The median campaign request was $10,000, which means that 1⁄2 of the campaigns within the survey demanded more funds, and half asked for less. Irrespective of the appraised value, the median money obtained by campaigns was $2,125. “Regardless of your request, you normally only got approximately 25% of it,” Breyer said. He also noted that the 25% satisfaction rate held even if an individual claimed to be compensated, underinsured, or lacked health insurance. On the other hand, sick people with no insurance asked for $10,000 averagely than campaigns whose funders didn’t specify insurance.
Challenges appeared to be quite difficult for contributors who claimed to be underfunded. Patients without health insurance were 10% more prone to report irregular employment and 10% prone to report having received prior surgical medications than those who didn’t specify insurance. There are some reasons why crowdfunding is different from a loan or P2P lending, as it doesn’t trigger any mental health disorder due to stress.
“These campaigns refer to individuals who could truly use the financial support for a variety of situations,” Breyer says. His research provided a modest but important peek into the massive financial difficulties that most of the 1.7,000,000 new cancer patients in the US face every year, particularly those with or without insurance. Notwithstanding a decrease in the uninsured ratio according to the Affordable Care Act, most patients keep reporting numerous conflicting financial requirements, such as outstanding healthcare bills, copays, personal drug prices, high deductibles, as well as medical travel. This is as per the authors of the research.
Seeing how infuriating and sad it is to watch patients (whose cancer has spread) struggle financially to pay for stem cell transplantation to have a few more years to live, turning to crowdfunding is a lifesaving decision.
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