The Atlantic

The Internet Has a Cancer-Faking Problem

“Munchausen by internet” is rattling tight-knit online support groups.
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When Stephany Angelacos was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer in 2016, she immediately turned to the internet for support. Online, there are numerous groups and forums where people dealing with cancer can share their experiences. Angelacos researched her disease and its treatments, and then, inspired by how knowledgeable everyone was, decided to found her own invite-only breast-cancer Facebook group that same year.

Today, this group has grown to 1,700 members. About a third have a metastatic or terminal diagnosis. Others are family members or medical professionals who share advice. The members comfort one another, organize fundraisers, and coordinate visits to those who are alone at the end of their lives. Angelacos, who has now completed active treatment, oversees many of these efforts.

Over the past year, one of the group’s more active and popular members was Marissa Marchand. When she joined in 2017, according to group members, Marchand said she was a terminally ill, grieving single mom. She posted pictures of herself bald from chemotherapy and wearing an IV drip. She

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