"I want people to be proactive about their health and get information," says the former 90210 star

By Gabrielle Olya
April 09, 2015 07:15 AM
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty

For Luke Perry, the fight against colorectal cancer hits close to home.

The actor lost a friend this year to colon cancer, and his childhood friend Chad Schrack’s wife is a survivor of the disease.

“I can’t imagine anything Chad would ask me to do that I wouldn’t help him with, so I was happy to jump in and help,” the actor, 48, tells PEOPLE about how he got involved with Fight Colorectal Cancer‘s “One Million Strong” campaign, which encourages people to get screened for the disease. “Once I found out what the numbers were about this cancer – about how detectable it is, and how lethal it is if you don’t detect it – it boggled my mind.”

Fight Colorectal Cancer has teamed up with Bayer Healthcare to encourage people to share a "#strongarmselfie" – for each strong arm-pose selfie taken with the hashtag, Bayer will donate $1 to help fund advocacy and awareness.

Says Perry, “Everybody’s always taking selfies anyway, why not just hold your arm up and make a buck for cancer?”

The former 90210 star hopes his involvement in the campaign will inform people about colorectal cancer and how preventable it is with proper screening.

“I want people to be proactive about their health and get information,” he says. “So many people could save a life if they just go and have a colonoscopy, but you’ve got to do something about that.”

For more of our interview with Perry, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday

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