According to data published in a report on www.cancer.org, about 569,490 Americans were expected to die from various forms of cancer in 2010.

That’s more than 1,500 people a day!

Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the United States exceeded only by heart disease. In the U.S, cancer accounts for nearly one of every four deaths. That is information that is certainly difficult to process.

To make things worse, some people are often born into a situation where they are pre-disposed to certain diseases, such as cancer, because of their family history. I have been truly fortunate as I come from a family that, for the most part, has not been pre-disposed to any serious disease states, such as cancer. My family (including myself) struggles with its own demons, but much of that has to do with addiction. Nonetheless, according to my father, I have only had 2 family members in my entire family (that he is aware of) who have had cancer. Other families, though, aren’t as fortunate. In fact, even though my family has not had a history of cancer to speak of, I married into a family that has a SIGNIFICANT history of cancer. My Mother-In-Law is a 2-time cancer survivor (ovarian and breast) and some of her siblings have had similar bouts with cancer. My wife’s brother has also had cancer. The good news is that these family members have not only recovered, but are still leading vital, productive lives. The bad news is that my two boys Nick and Noah are pre-disposed to cancer on their Mother’s side of the family.

Susan Below (my Mother-In-Law) was first diagnosed with cancer at age 48. “I didn’t want to miss what was ahead for me in terms of my personal life, my children's lives and my nursing career,” she says. Below believes in a preventative approach and education. “I read any article I see about breast and ovarian cancer.  I make every effort to stay happy and positive, not let things bother me and live a generally healthy lifestyle.”

This got me to thinking; almost 600,000 people were projected to die from various forms of cancer in 2010. What if you were one of the many to actually be diagnosed with cancer in 2010? All of a sudden there is a shift in focus to survival. And many health professionals believe in a strict detoxifying regimen.

I wrote at length about processed foods in my March article. We are constantly eating foods that have been altered from their natural state. Many manufacturers use man-made ingredients that prolong a product's shelf life. That’s why you see pre-packaged foods that stay fresh for months. Unfortunately, processed foods have the opposite effect on peoples' health. With all the processed foods that are eaten, it's not hard to see that our kidneys, liver, and other vital body filtering organs often can’t detoxify on their own. That’s why it is very important to eat foods that help the body detoxify. When you are in the midst of a cancer battle, it is crucial to adjust your dietary habits to a regimen that eliminates the toxins faster than they accumulate. This will allow a progressive normalization that will keep your body’s metabolism in a state of natural equilibrium. My research uncovered a website (www.globalhealingcenter.com) that provided a great list of the following 10 foods that will help detoxify the body:

Fruits: Extremely high in liquid-content, helping the body wash out toxins. They are also very easy to digest and are high in antioxidants, nutrients, fiber and many important vitamins such as vitamin C (one of the best detox vitamins as it transforms toxins into digestible material).

Green Foods: Blue green algae, barley, wheatgrass, kale, spinach, spirulina, alfalfa, chard, and other organic leafy greens are great examples of green foods. These plants provide chlorophyll to the digestive tract. Chlorophyll rids the body of harmful environmental toxins from smog, heavy metals, herbicides, cleaning products and pesticides. They also help the liver detoxify.

Lemons, Oranges and Limes: These citrus-wonders aid the body in flushing out toxins, as well as jump-start the digestive tract with enzymatic processes. They also aid the liver in its cleansing processes. To increase detoxification, start each morning with a warm glass of lemon water. These are also are rich in vitamin C which, as mentioned earlier, is one of the very best detox vitamins.

Garlic: Stimulates the liver in producing detoxification enzymes that help filter out toxic residues in the digestive system

Broccoli Sprouts: Extremely high in antioxidants, broccoli sprouts significantly help stimulate the detoxification enzymes in the digestive tract. The sprouts are actually more effective than the fully-grown vegetable.

Green Tea: Packed full of antioxidants, green tea not only washes toxins out of the system, but also contains a special type of antioxidant called catechins, known to increase liver function.

Mung Beans: This bean has been used by Ayurvedic doctors for thousands of years. It is incredibly easy to digest, and absorbs toxic residue that accumulates on the intestinal walls.

Raw Vegetables: Best for juicing detox regimens or eaten raw: Combinations of raw vegetables such as onions, carrots, artichoke, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, kale, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, garlic, beet, turmeric and oregano will help your liver purge toxins during the cleansing process. These vegetables are high in naturally occurring sulphur and glutathione. Sulphur helps the liver detoxify harmful chemicals

Seeds and Nuts: Incorporate the easily digestible seeds and nuts into your diet including flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, almonds, walnuts, hemp seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds, and sunflower seeds.

Omega 3 Fats: Hemp, avocado, olive oils or flax seed oil help lubricate the intestinal walls, allowing the toxins to be absorbed by the oil and eliminated by the body.

If you eat plenty of the foods mentioned above you are well on your way to detoxifying vital body filtering organs. However, gaining access to these foods on a consistent basis is often difficult. Furthermore, foods such as these have become harder to find in chain supermarkets where processed foods are king. Additionally, if you are undergoing cancer treatment, you may find it is a challenge keeping your refrigerator filled with these detoxifying foods. With that said, establishing a comprehensive supplement regimen will help. Supplements will also help you progress a little faster, and give your body the boost it needs, particularly if you are feeling lethargic as a result of cancer treatment. There are many supplements that have great detoxifying properties. The following supplements have always been a great start for detoxifying the body:

Probiotics: I will never forget what a health professional told me years ago: “Health begins in the gut.” That’s why probiotics are critical. The intestinal tract is filled with an enormous number of beneficial bacteria called probiotic bacteria. They are called probiotic bacteria because the term “probiotic” means “for life”. The body is designed to have a symbiotic relationship with these probiotic bacteria. Probiotics help to digest food, kill harmful microorganisms and assist us in functioning properly in many ways. It is crucial to have a large population of probiotic bacteria in the digestive tract as this will promote proper digestion and keep harmful, disease-causing microorganisms at bay. If the percentage of good bacteria is too low, compared to the bad bacteria, the body will function poorly. For detoxifying purposes, consider the probiotic yeast Saccharomyces Boulardii. This probiotic yeast survives stomach acid and colonizes the intestinal tract. It promotes the health of the intestinal tract, helps protect its beneficial microbiota and enhances immune function and the detoxification process.

Sulforaphane: Sulforaphane is produced in the body from a compound in broccoli and triggers the production of enzymes that help detoxify cancer-causing chemicals. According to research at Johns Hopkins University, there is a link between increased fresh vegetable consumption and the reduced risk of cancer. The key protective compound in broccoli is a chemical called glucoraphanin, which the body turns into sulforaphane and is now referred to as SGS. This can be taken as a potent extract, is an inducer of phase 2 detoxifying enzymes and a protector of DNA.

Milk Thistle: The herb milk thistle could be called the liver's best friend. This makes milk thistle a “must take” as the liver is the body’s key filtering organ. Regularly taking milk thistle not only protects the liver from toxins but it also plays an important healing role as well. Milk thistle helps to repair liver cells and promotes the regeneration of new cells. In short, milk thistle helps the liver carry out its daily tasks. Be sure to take a Milk Thistle product that meets label claims and is approved for quality. Ideally, a milk thistle extract should be standardized to contain 80% total Milk Thistle seed flavonoids, including the important Silymarin fractions isosilybinins A and B, silybinins A and B, silychristin and silydianin. This particular group of flavonoids, collectively known as Silymarin, supports liver function by raising protective glutathione levels.

Green Tea: An excellent detox agent, taking Green Tea extract helps the body fight free radicals (unstable molecules or oxidants) that “damage cell proteins and genetic material,” making the body “vulnerable to cancer,” according to the National Cancer Institute. Catechins (antioxidants) deter free radicals’ enzyme and DNA damage that sometimes leads to cancer. Green tea’s detoxifying properties have links to weight reduction and fat burning, and they can fight bacteria, liver disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, atherosclerosis and inflammatory bowel disease.

N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine (NAC): NAC is an antioxidant and amino acid. It is a precursor in the body to the essential antioxidant glutathione, which is produced mainly by the liver. Glutathione detoxifies chemicals into less harmful compounds and assists in numerous protective efforts in the body, including intracellular defense against oxidative stress and detoxification. Acetaminophen and alcohol are known to decrease glutathione levels. NAC protects the body from acetaminophen toxicity and is used in hospitals for patients with acetaminophen poisoning. It has also been shown to be effective at treating liver failure from other causes as well. Additionally, it helps rid the body of heavy metals including lead and mercury.

We all know that exercise has PROFOUND health benefits and must be a part of your health and wellness regimen. Exercise not only helps you manage your weight, it also improves mood; combats chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease (among others); SIGNIFICANTLY boosts energy; promotes quality sleep; and can dramatically improve libido.

But what if you have been diagnosed with cancer? In the past, people being treated for a chronic illness (an illness a person may live with for a long time, like cancer or diabetes) were often told by their doctor to rest and reduce their physical activity. This is good advice if movement causes pain, rapid heart rate, or shortness of breath. But newer research has shown that exercise is not only safe and possible during cancer treatment, but it can improve how well you physically function and your quality of life. Too much rest may lead to loss of function, muscle weakness, and reduced range of motion in the person with cancer. So today, many cancer care teams are urging their patients to be as physically active as possible during cancer treatment.

Additionally, the good news is that exercise can also help to detoxify the body. Walking, running, cycling, swimming, resistance training and other types of exercise helps the body get rid of accumulated wastes, toxins and environmental poisons.

How does exercise actually help to detoxify? The body is a finely tuned machine and is engineered to rid itself of toxins and operate as efficiently as possible. Exercise cleans all of your internal organs simultaneously. In fact, exercise accelerates the detoxification process. When you exercise, the blood circulates throughout the body, bringing nutrients to all the organs and muscles. Exercise also helps lymph fluids circulate through the body, which removes toxins and other harmful materials. When exercising, you breathe deeply and take in more oxygen, which helps all the cells to perform their jobs, including removing toxins. When you exercise, you sweat which releases toxins through the pores of the skin.

Aerobic exercise such as walking, running and cycling all get the body moving and helps the detoxification process. If undergoing cancer treatment, it is very important to listen to your body and not overdo it.

Over the past several years, I have established a great relationship with Brenda Michaels, a 3-time cancer survivor who hosts the radio show Conscious Talk Radio (www.conscioustalk.net) with her husband Rob Spears, also a long-term survivor of non-Hodgkin’s. She completely rejected mainstream cancer treatments and looked to natural solutions, including comprehensive detoxification during her multiple fights with the disease. “I detox in many different ways,” she says. “I exercise every day. I am also a big believer in the need for supplements in the diet, especially since most of our food today is adulterated and robbed of its nutrient value.  Taking supplements is a great way to give additional support to the body. Additionally, three times a year, I do two specific cleanses: a kidney cleanse and a liver cleanse.”

Michaels also periodically does an emotional detox.  “My emotional detox is done through my deep spiritual work,” she explains. “I am committed to leading a life that is in alignment with good health on a wide range of fronts, including emotionally.” Michaels adds, “The key to staying healthy and happy is to stop doing what stands in the way of your health and well-being.  Taking a stand for your health and well-being requires commitment and courage, and, believe me, there is no other way.  We MUST be willing to do whatever it takes if we truly desire to be healthy and happy.”

While cancer remains a major public health problem in the United States, cancer death rates among both men and women are declining, according to the American Cancer Society's (ACS) annual cancer statistics report, “Cancer Statistics, 2010.” Researchers credit the steady decline mainly to falling smoking rates, improved cancer treatments, and earlier detection of cancer. If you are one of the thousands who have been diagnosed with cancer, detoxing is something to consider. Always know that cancer is not a death sentence. It is an opportunity to learn about your body and the good things that lie ahead.