1 June 2012
Macmillan responds to the BBC Radio 4 documentary ‘Desperately Seeking Sympathy’ on Münchausen’s by Internet
Laura Goss, Online Community Manager at Macmillan Cancer Support, says:
“Münchausen’s by Internet is a pattern of behaviour in which an internet user seeks attention by feigning illness in online chat venues. It is a very rare condition and Macmillan Cancer Support has only come across a very small number of community members who have displayed certain behaviours associated with this condition in six years of running the online community.
“The Macmillan online community is a vital source of 24/7 support for anyone affected by cancer and we have over 56,000 members. It provides a safe and supportive space for people who have been affected by cancer to talk openly with others who have had a similar experience and they tell us that this helps them to cope with their own cancer diagnosis, or that of a friend or loved one.
“We strive to protect our community by advising members never to share personal details. We can only investigate and take action against things which happen on the community itself. We also closely monitor the forums and make every effort to identify people who are falsifying a cancer experience.
“Our role is to protect our online community members and we are committed to learning as much as possible about this condition and the behaviours surrounding it, so we can continue to deal appropriately with situations on the rare occasions they arise.”
For further information, please contact:
Claire Keuls, Media & PR Officer
020 7840 4872 (out of hours 07801 307 068)
Notes to Editors:
About Macmillan Cancer Support
Cancer is the toughest fight most of us will ever face. But you don’t have to go through it alone. The Macmillan team is with you every step of the way.
We are the nurses and therapists helping you through treatment. The experts on the end of the phone. The advisers telling you which benefits you’re entitled to. The volunteers giving you a hand with the everyday things. The campaigners improving cancer care. The fundraisers who make it all possible.
We are Macmillan Cancer Support.
You don’t have to face cancer alone. The Macmillan team is here to support you every step of the way. For more information visit www.macmillan.org.uk or call 0808 808 00 00.