SAN DIEGO — Researchers at UC San Diego’s Moores Cancer Center are investigating whether simple changes in diet can fight prostate cancer. Dave McLaren was among other participants in a pilot program to see if prostate cancer patients would change their lifestyle and diets by eating more amounts of vegetables. “In fact, they were amazingly receptive,” said Dr. Kellogg Parsons, a urologist who was involved in the study. Doctors in the initial study wanted participants to eat seven or more servings a day of vegetables such as carrots, tomatoes, kale, broccoli and radishes. “I feel better in my head, I guess — knowing I’m not abusing myself at the cellular level,” said McLaren. McLaren remembers being diagnosed with prostate cancer. “This cannot be happening to me,” said McLaren as he recalled what went through his mind at the time. Now, researchers have begun a new study to see if the vegetable diet can actually stop prostate cancer in its tracks. “What we’re hoping [and] what we’re thinking is that this intervention… this high vegetable diet is going to keep the cancer from progressing,” said Parsons. Researchers don’t know if the diet could actually cure the cancer, but if it keeps the cancer from growing, they said it’s a major step for patients in less aggressive and early-stage cases. “That means they don’t need treatment,” said Parsons. “That means they don’t need surgery. They don’t need radiation.” McLaren admitted he is a little skeptical. “I’d like to see the study to prove that,” he said. “It’d be great.” Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men. In 2007, about 223,000 men in the United States were diagnosed with it and about 29,000 died from the disease that same year. Researchers believe the vegetables contain chemicals that potentially either fight the cancer or strengthen the body’s ability to fight the disease.