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


Choosing Marketplace insurance

Choosing Marketplace insurance


If you are buying health insurance on your own, rather than getting it from an employer, you have until February 15 to purchase it through the marketplace [aka state exchanges]. And if you earn less than $46,000 you are probably eligible for a subsidy, which could cut your premium by at least 50 percent.

But there is a lot to consider as the deadline draws near, especially if you have, or have had, cancer. This article provides advice, tools, and additional places to go for help finding a plan to fit your budget and needs. And steers you toward organizations that might be able to provide financial support with health care costs. Read More

Image Vitamin D Benefits Cancer Patients

Vitamin D benefits cancer patients


If your Vitamin D level is at least 30 ng/ml at the time of your cancer diagnosis, you double your chance for long-term survival, according to a Canadian study, and other studies have similar findings.

But even if your blood level was lower, or you don’t know what it was when you first learned you had this illness, ensuring optimal Vitamin D moving forward will only help you;  it’s been shown to promote cancer cell death.

“If you have cancer, your Vitamin D should be at least 30 ng/ml, but I recommend no less than 60 to increase your chance for long-term survival,” said Cedric Garland, PhD, a professor at the University of  California School of Medicine, San Diego, and the first researcher to link Vitamin D and cancer. His studies date back to 1980.

Know that most of us are deficient unless we take Vitamin D supplements, so here are measures to take to ensure that your Vitamin D blood levels are where they should be … Read More

image grieving 2

Dealing with grief


This time of year, every jingle bell, every lit up street, and floating hors d’oeuvre tray seems to shout out: “Party time! Be happy!”

These are two tall tasks if you’re grieving the loss of a loved one. You might want to shout right back: “Thank you very much, but I’ll take a pass this time.”

Holidays trigger loneliness when you’re flooded with memories—when you’re creating scenes in your head where your father, sister, best friend is here, celebrating with you again. But spending this time totally alone is not a good idea. Read More





Oral health during and after chemo

We should treat our mouths with kid gloves through cancer treatments, as nearly half of us who go through chemo and or radiation deal with oral problems that result from cancer treatments–especially people with head or neck cancer or who’ve had a bone marrow transplant. Read on to learn the reason for pain and other potential problems, like with swallowing. And learn how you can keep your teeth and mouth healthy during and after treatments.


What’s the connection between cancer treatment and oral problems? Read More



Palliative radiation for symptom management

 Pain 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 …


Palliative radiation is especially  effective with metastatic bone pain.

Two-thirds to three-thirds of patients with bone metastasis will get pain relief from this procedure, said Dr. Lutz. The therapy accomplishes two things: it shrinks tumors, and it diminishes toxins released by the tumor into the bone.

“The tumor in the bone releases factors that cause pain. These microscopic messengers tell the bone to destroy itself. We think palliative radiation works by changing the tumor cells’ functions in a way where they are less likely to release these messengers,” he said. Read More


The USDA recommends we eat about four cups of fruits and vegetables a day, and some health practitioners recommend we eat more, as these foods are rich in phytochemicals, which are plant compounds that studies show promote our health. But who sits down to, say, a two-pound spinach and kale salad?


Learn how to juice.

Benefits of juicing

If you were to juice it, you can down most of that spinach and kale’s nutrients in one tall glass. And you will likely get a near immediate boost of energy. This is because a juicer breaks down plant cell walls, releasing nutrients that are more quickly and readily absorbed, according to osteopathic physician Joseph Mercola and clinical nutritionists. 

Even if you don’t exactly love spinach and kale, read on. You will learn ways to make these vegetables taste surprisingly good, and also learn what else to juice with.

We will start with some of the benefits of juicing, as well as a few cautions. Read More


Fermented foods’ health benefits

Fermentation is a chemical process that prevents or slows the process of food spoilage. 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 ingredients in them.


Research shows probiotics influence hundreds of our genes, helping them express in a way that fights disease (published in the journal, ISME) and helping to reduce cancer-promoting inflammation (published in Gut Microbes)

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.” 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.  Read More

Supplements and herbs for chemo brain

Supplements and herbs for chemo brain

Finally, scientists are realizing what we ourselves have known for a while: chemo brain is real. Growing research proves this. But are there treatments to help restore our memory and clear our heads? That is 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?

Read More