LGBTQ+ inequity in crowdfunding cancer costs: The influence of online reach and LGBTQ+ state policy

Austin R. Waters, Caleb W. Easterly, Cindy Turner, Lauren Ghazal, Ida Tovar, Megan Mulvaney, Matt Poquadeck, Stephen A. Rains, Kristin G. Cloyes, Anne C. Kirchhoff, Erin E. Kent, Echo L. Warner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Emerging literature suggests that LGBTQ+ cancer survivors are more likely to experience financial burden than non-LGBTQ+ survivors. However, LGBTQ+ cancer survivors experience with cost-coping behaviors such as crowdfunding is understudied. Methods: We aimed to assess LGBTQ+ inequity in cancer crowdfunding by combining community-engaged and technology-based methods. Crowdfunding campaigns were web-scraped from GoFundMe and classified as cancer-related and LGBTQ+ or non-LGBTQ+ using term dictionaries. Bivariate analyses and generalized linear models were used to assess differential effects in total goal amount raised by LGBTQ+ status. Stratified models were run by online reach and LGBTQ+ inclusivity of state policy. Results: A total of N = 188,342 active cancer-related crowdfunding campaigns were web-scraped from GoFundMe in November 2022, of which N = 535 were LGBTQ+ and ranged from 2014 to 2022. In multivariable models of recent campaigns (2019–2022), LGBTQ+ campaigns raised $1608 (95% CI: −2139, −1077) less than non-LGBTQ+ campaigns. LGBTQ+ campaigns with low (26–45 donors), moderate (46–87 donors), and high (88–240 donors) online reach raised on average $1152 (95% CI: −$1589, −$716), $1050 (95% CI: −$1737, −$364), and $2655 (95% CI: −$4312, −$998) less than non-LGBTQ+ campaigns respectively. When stratified by LGBTQ+ inclusivity of state level policy states with anti-LGBTQ+ policy/lacking equitable policy raised on average $1910 (95% CI: −2640, −1182) less than non-LGBTQ+ campaigns from the same states. Conclusions and Relevance: Our findings revealed LGBTQ+ inequity in cancer-related crowdfunding, suggesting that LGBTQ+ cancer survivors may be less able to address financial burden via crowdfunding in comparison to non-LGBTQ+ cancer survivors—potentially widening existing economic inequities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere6926
JournalCancer medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 2024


  • cost of care
  • crowdfunding
  • financial burden
  • financial hardship
  • financial toxicity
  • gender expansive
  • gender identity
  • sexual and gender minority
  • sexual minority
  • sexual orientation
  • transgender

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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