The Daily Telegraph

Cancer crowdfundi­ng is ‘aiding’ cranks and conmen

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CROWDFUNDI­NG for alternativ­e cancer treatments has opened up “new and lucrative revenue streams” for cranks, charlatans and conmen, experts have warned.

Figures published in The BMJ today show that such crowdfundi­ng has soared in recent years, prompting fears that huge sums are being raised for treatments that do not work.

The medical journal is now calling for crowdfundi­ng sites to vet cancer appeals to ensure patients are not being exploited, warning that while some experiment­al treatments have beneficial impacts, “many fear it has also opened up a new and lucrative revenue stream for cranks, charlatans, and conmen who prey on the vulnerable”.

The figures, collected by the Good Thinking Society, a charity that promotes scientific thinking, show that since 2012, appeals on UK crowdfundi­ng sites for alternativ­e cancer treatments have raised £8million, with the majority used to fund treatment abroad.

Justgiving’s own figures show more than 2,300 UK cancer-related appeals were set up on its site in 2016, a sevenfold rise on 2015.

Michael Marshall, the society’s project director, said: “We are concerned that so many patients are raising huge sums for treatments that are not evidence-based.”

Good Thinking now wants crowdfundi­ng sites to “reject outright proposals that refer to specific drugs that have been discredite­d, extreme dietary regimes, intravenou­s vitamin C, alkaline therapy and other alternativ­es”.

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