Luke Perry is the hero you’ve been waiting for — and he doesn’t even need a cape. The former “Beverly Hills, 90210” heartthrob is using his celebrity status to bring attention to colorectal cancer after going through a scare himself. Perry told Fox News that doctors removed precancerous growths that were found after undergoing a routine colonoscopy in 2015.
“When I heard that this was the most detectable cancer that we know of, yet it’s the second most lethal, I just couldn’t figure out why that was, and I wanted to get out there and tell people about it,” said Perry, who recently teamed up with Fight Colorectal Cancer’s “One Million Strong” campaign, which promotes early screenings. “Right now there are 23 million Americans who haven’t been screened who need to be screened. If I had waited, it could have been a whole different scenario.”
For people with an average risk — meaning no one in your family has a history — screenings should start at the age of 50. If you’re at a higher risk due to inherited colorectal cancer, it is important that more frequent screenings begin before then, according to the American Cancer Society. No matter the risk category you’re in, Perry says everyone would benefit from eating a healthier diet, which is a great way to help with prevention.
“I have significantly cut down on the amount of red meat I eat,” Perry explained. “I used to be a steak-and-potatoes kind of guy. Now it’s just for special occasions. I eat a lot more fish, natural grains and fiber.”
Studies have found that being overweight or obese increases your risk of getting colorectal cancer or polyps. So it is important to maintain a healthy weight, increase your level of activity and cut down or eliminate the consumption of red meat, processed meat and alcohol. And since long-term smoking has been linked to colorectal cancer — not to mention myriad other health problems — it’s best to quit.
Perry is hoping that by talking about a difficult subject he can help save lives. He is asking that people pay more attention to their stool; if you find blood, it could be a sign of colorectal cancer.
“You need to examine your stool,” he told Fox News. “This is something that people don’t want to talk about, but we’re talking about saving lives here. It’s no big deal. You want to have a look [and] know what’s going on.”