The number of cancer patients turning to crowdfunding to pay for life-saving medical treatments that are not available on the National Health Service has risen dramatically, according to JustGiving figures.
The JustGiving figures were given to BBC5 earlier this month and show that in 2016, cancer patients or their friends and families set up 2,348 appeals. This is a seven-fold (672%) rise on the number of appeals created in 2015 (304).
The total amount raised last year saw an eight-fold increase. More than £4.5m (£4,670,143) was crowdfunded for the cancer treatments abroad – an eight-fold (780%) increase on 2015 (£530,519).
According to JustGiving’s figures, the USA, Germany and Mexico were the most popular destinations for treatment last year. Over a fifth of those looking for treatment (404 people) raised £1,393,490 in donations to travel to the States for their care, a 1,595% increase from 2015.
Germany was second with 142 people crowdfunding £368,530 (a 461% increase from 2015), and 23 people raised £69,660 to travel to Mexico for treatment (a 224% increase from 2015).
The most popular treatment crowdfunded for was immunotherapy. 136 people raised £599,652 in 2016 for this procedure (an average of £4,409 each) compared to only six people raising £7,583 in 2015 (a 7,808% increase from 2015).
Charles Wells, chief operations officer for JustGiving, said:
“Over the last twelve months we’ve seen more and more people crowdfunding on JustGiving to raise money for cancer treatments that aren’t available on the NHS. It can be a practical way for friends, family and the community to come together and help, as well as providing a lifeline for people by giving them access to pioneering treatments when they’ve been given a cancer diagnosis.”
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