Hi Survivors, their Families and Friends,                      

Welcome to www.1UpOnCancer.com. This site is for you if you want to look cancer in the eye and not be afraid – or at least feel much less afraid.

I’m a long-time health writer. I’m also the daughter, niece, granddaughter, cousin, and best friend to people who’ve faced the beast. And in September 2009 I became a cancer survivor myself. I had myself diagnosed as a gonner, even before I had my first round of A/C. All the data floating on the Internet just rocked me at a time I needed to hear the  positive.

I started this site for a place to find that; you will only get good news here! Please visit to learn about survivors and organizations doing incredible things. To learn about promising research. To read about lifestyle choices to cut your chance for recurrence or to live well if you have  metastasized. Visit for “Freebies for Cancer Patients” and other resources. And if you want a good laugh, click on the “Humor” link. Enjoy, and I hope you come back often.

Best in health and happiness,

Rachel Pappas


Featured on this Page:

Cybersace connections


Foods and herbs to keep sugar in check


Might you have a hereditary cancer? What you can do

And more




Avoiding Acid Reflux

Twenty percent of Americans have acid reflux—that’s 16 million people – and it’s as common in Europe. Read on to learn of early signs you may not have known of. Learn how to dodge or manage acid reflux and why this is important.


What is acid reflux and how do I know if I might have it?

Read More


Fermentation is a chemical process that keeps foods from spoiling, but it has other benefits, especially when we are fighting or recovering from illness. Fermentation produces bacteria called probiotics that are good for the gut, boost our immune system, and help free up more nutrients to be digested and used by our bodies. And if you love grains, know fermentation reduces their gluten and lectins—the not-so-healthy stuff in them.


Research shows probiotics influence hundreds of our genes, helping them express in a way that fights disease

For instance, they help curb a protein that causes cancer-promoting inflammation, according to alternative physician Dr. Joseph Mercola. 

Unfortunately, you won’t find many fermented foods in most grocery stores, especially in the United States. But here are some good ones still on the shelves, they are most commonly found in health foods stores and in some Indian and Asian grocery shops.


Good fermented foods

Dietician Gale Maleskey recommends sourdough breadpickled vegetables like German sauerkraut, natto (Japanese soybeans), kimchi (Korean dish with cabbage, other vegetables and spices), and tempeh (Indonesian dish derived from fermented soybeans.) There’s dark chocolate, aged cheeses, pickled and cured olives, and yogurt (full-fat Greek yogurt or strain your own to cut out the sugars).

You’ll get added benefits with some of these foods. Sourdough bread is a classic example: it has a lower glycemic index than other breads, helping reduce insulin spikes, which gives sugar-loving tumors less to feed off of, and boosts immune strength.

Organic yogurt has healthy protein and carbs, associated with better immunity and reduced risk for colon cancer. And with dairy in general, fermentation breaks down milk sugar lactose, helping with insulin levels and digestion.  Read More

Cancer survivors need a good laugh

Cancer survivors need a good laugh

I have done something different with this post than the articles on topics like how to treat chemo brain, cancer-fighting diet and herbs, etc. 

I figure we can use a laugh now and then, so I am  sharing  some gut-busting  responses I’ve heard from  folks  to the line:  “You know you’re a cancer survivor when … “ 

You know you’re a cancer survivor when …

Your alarm goes off at 6 a.m. and you’re glad to hear it.

Your mother-in-law invites you to lunch and you say NO.

You’re back in the family rotation to take out the garbage.

You use your toothbrush to brush your teeth rather than comb your hair.

You no longer have the urge to choke the person who says, “All you need to beat cancer is the right attitude.”

Your dental floss runs out and you buy 1,000 more yards.

You have a chance to buy additional life insurance but you buy a new convertible car instead.

Your doctor tells you to lose weight and do something about your cholesterol and you actually listen.

Your biggest yearly celebration is again your birthday rather than the day you finished treatment.

You use your Visa more than your hospital parking pass.

You know you are a survivor when…Your son is in a state of shock when he sees you without your wig and tells you “to put something on!” (like you are naked)

Your sex life is so nonexistent that you look forward to your oncologist giving you a breast exam –  someone’s finally feeling you up.

Your husband notices your hair growing in all thick and bushy and says, “You look like a sponge; I could turn you over and mop the floor with you.” And you take it as a compliment because you’re just happy to have hair.

 Source: http://www.thefurrymonkey.co.uk/jokes_cancer.htm

If you have a hilarious comeback to “You know you have cancer when …” please e-mail  me. I’d like to post some of your responses in a new article. Rachelpappas5@gmail.com

imagepalliativecaePain from cancer does not have to keep you from living out your life; palliative radiation may be one means to relief, whether your cancer is curable or not.

 “When we say radiation ‘palliates,’ we are saying it addresses symptoms or side effects associated with life-threatening illness, and it works whether the ultimate goal is cure or to improve quality at the end of life,” said Dr. Stephen Lutz, MD, a radiation oncologist at Blanchard Valley Regional Cancer Center in Findley, OH. Read on to find out who it’s for and how it works … Read More

Treating anxiety naturally

Treating anxiety naturally

In the following Q&A, master herbalist and clinical nutritionist Donnie Yance speaks on how he treats anxiety and overall brain health, especially after cancer. See Brain Health and Cancer Part 1 for ways to treat chemo brain.


How does anxiety affect us, especially after cancer?

Donnie Yance, herbalist, nutritionist and founder of Mederi Center for Natural Healing:

Anxiety affects the life force or vital energy. If you are anxious for extended periods or often, your brain becomes overstimulated and fatigued. People whom have had cancer tend to have a higher rate of anxiety, and this is not good, so I focus a lot on this. 


 How do you treat anxiety?


I view anxiety using various diagnostic “lenses” to better understand all of the contributing factors. I evaluate both the “host” (the body) and the “environment.” This approach enables me to create a program specific to each individual. Read More

Supplements and herbs for chemo brain

Supplements and herbs for chemo brain

Finally, scientists are realizing what we ourselves have known since we went through chemo: chemo brain is real. Growing research proves this. But are there treatments to help restore our memory and clear our heads? That is still up for debate in the medical community, but internationally known master herbalist and clinical nutritionist Donnie Yance  claims there is plenty we can do. He explains in this Q&A.  Read Brain Health and Cancer Part 2 for Donnie’s advice on treating both anxiety and brain fog.


How do you address chemo brain?

Donnie Yance, herbalist, clinical nutritionist and founder of Mederi Center for Natural Healing:

I address all contributing factors to illness, which promote a healthier and longer life. My primary focus is to bring about harmony and balance throughout the body. This includes how I treat cancer, overall wellness, and chemo brain.   Read More

Etiqutte-101Cancer can put a new spin on our social lives. People who haven’t been where we are  back away from us. Or they want to be there, and some of them know how to do it in a way that works. Some try, but are there for us  in ways that  we don’t love. So how do we deal with the social scenarios when we are now in a different place from most people in our lives–and don’t want to feel like we are planets apart from them? Let’s hear suggestions from a cancer survivor  who fields questions from other survivors all the time.


Pleasing the world??

You might find yourself getting treated with kid gloves now, with people doing for you. Do you send a thank you for every dinner, “hang in there” card, ribbon jewelry or “chemo sucks” mug?

 “I myself would say, you should be spending your time getting well, not writing thank you’s for every kind act,” says Elyn Jacobs, a cancer coach, host of radio show Survive and Live Well, and cancer survivor herself. Read More

The following is a guest post from Brian Lawenda, MD



Although I am a radiation oncologist, and my education and training through medical school and residency were in conventional cancer medicine (surgery, pharmaceuticals, radiation, etc.), I strongly believe there is much more we can do to support our body’s natural abilities to prevent and fight cancer.

One of the best ways to make our tissues less conducive to cancer is to consume lots of plant foods, which are chock full of anticancer compounds, many of which function in the same manner as our multi-billion dollar cancer drugs. These compounds have the ability to neutralize free radicals which damage DNA, reduce inflammation, which can promote cancer, slow the growth of cancer cells and tumor blood vessels  that feed cancer. Some of these compounds signal cancer cells to die, support detoxification and elimination of cancer-promoting substances, etc. Read More

 image cancer and fertility 2

Cancer treatments are expensive enough; add to the equation the cost of fertility treatments, and you are staring down astounding bills. Unfortunately, insurance rarely covers fertility preservation for most cancer patients because of a loophole: you have to have tried to conceive, unsuccessfully, for at least a year, though your doctor can provide documentation that may get your insurer to reconsider if you are denied coverage.

Read on to learn about financial assistance for fertility preservation available through LIVESTRONG Fertility (formerly Fertile Hope). Read More


imagesCancer and fertility 1When you hear you have cancer, huge question marks flash before you about the future—especially if you want to have a baby.   

Even if your fertility is significantly affected for the long term (and not everyone’s is) there are fertility options with about 20% to 40% success rates, say fertility specialists. Two such specialists answer the questions you may have in this Q&A.

Read part 2 to learn of financial aid, educational and emotional support available to cancer patients wishing to preserve their fertility. Read More