Cancer Experts to Answer Public's Questions About Potential Risks and Benefits of Complimentary and Alternative Medicine

October 20, 2005

Heather Goethe
Elizabeth Milbank

Editor’s Note: Complementary and alternative medicine experts specializing in the care of people living with cancer available for interview.

Alexandria, VA -- A diagnosis of cancer is difficult news for any patient. Faced with the anxiety and confusion that a cancer diagnosis may bring, some people choose to explore complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in addition to conventional treatments. While research has shown that some CAM therapies can help ease side effects of traditional treatments, others do nothing more than waste money and cause potential harm.

  • What complementary therapies are generally accepted in the medical field?
  • What are the risks of alternative therapies?
  • What safety concerns exist?
  • How can patients explore CAM responsibly?

Throughout the month of November, two nationally recognized experts in the fields of oncology and CAM will answer questions such as these to help people gain a greater understanding of the potential risks and benefits associated with complementary and alternative medicine in the treatment of their disease. Questions may be submitted anonymously to, the patient information website of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

About the Experts:

Dr. Mansky graduated medical school in Germany where he studied Anthroposophical Medicine including herbal therapies, art therapies, and physical applications. After a postdoctoral research fellowship in immunogenetics at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, he completed his clinical residency training in pediatrics and internal medicine at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Dr. Mansky also completed a clinical and research fellowship in pediatric hematology/oncology and medical oncology at the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He is now a staff clinician and clinical investigator in the Division of Intramural Research at the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, NIH. His primary area of research is complementary and alternative medicine in cancer, with a special emphasis on botanical/drug interactions, cancer symptom management, and mind-body interventions.

As a researcher and educator, Dr. Cassileth has worked in the alternative and complementary medicine and the psychosocial aspects of cancer care for more than twenty years. She has published extensively on these issues and has been invited to lecture throughout North and South America, Europe, and Asia. Dr. Cassileth was a founding member of the Advisory Council to the National Institutes of Health Office of Alternative Medicine. She also serves on several ASCO committees as well as on many NIH and other federal and national panels. Her publications include 124 original papers and 45 books and chapters for physicians and patients.

Visit for complete login details. Reporters wishing to set up an interview with an expert or to participate in the chats should call 703-299-1016 for more information.

Click here for additional background information on complementary and alternative medicine and cancer:

PLWC is the patient website of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and is designed to help patients and their families find accurate, timely, and oncologist-approved information about cancer. Visitors to PLWC will find detailed information on the diagnosis and treatment of more than 85 types of cancer. An Editorial Board of more than 100 medical, surgical and radiation oncologists, oncology nurses, social workers, and patient advocates regularly review PLWC’s content.