Ryan Reynolds has colonoscopy on camera to destigmatize the procedure

·3-min read

Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney are hoping to kick colon cancer's ass.

The American Cancer Society recommends that people with an average risk of colorectal cancer start regular screenings at age 45. In efforts to raise awareness, the duo teamed up with Lead From Behind, a new initiative helping to spread the message that colon cancer is "the preventable cancer."

Reynolds and McElhenney, co-chairmen of the Welsh Football Club Wrexham AFC, explained in a video released Tuesday that the decision to film their procedures was a result of Reynolds losing a bet.

The duo had made a bet that McElhenney wouldn't be able to learn Welsh. Apparently, Reynolds was so sure he wouldn't, he said he would "publicly broadcast his colonoscopy" if McElhenney could prove him wrong. Turns out, he lost the bet. But given that McElhenney is a good sport, he decided to film his colonoscopy as well.

"I've been on camera a lot. But this was the first time one was shoved up my ass," Reynolds said in a statement. "The procedure and prep were painless but the discomfort of filming and sharing the process was the hardest part. Rob and I did it because we want this potentially lifesaving procedure to be less mysterious and stigmatized."

"Ryan and I both turned 45 this year and this is just a rite of passage," added McElhenney, "and a great one because it can literally save your life. It's obviously a procedure that makes people uncomfortable but it sure beats getting cancer. We wanted to have fun with this because as with all the weird things that happen in life, why not make it fun instead of scary?"

Both hope the video imparts the importance of having a colonoscopy.

"I would never normally have any medical procedure put on camera and then shared," Reynolds says in the video as he's heading into the hospital. "It's not every day that you can raise awareness about something that will most definitely save lives. That's enough motivation for me to let you in on a camera being shoved up my ass."

A doctor ended up removing an extremely subtle polyp on the right side of Reynolds's colon, which the doctor described as "potentially lifesaving." A doctor also removed three small polyps from McElhenney's colon.

Colorectal cancer is one of the most common causes of cancer deaths in the United States and rates of colorectal cancer are higher in minority populations, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

By 2030, colorectal cancer may be the leading cause of cancer death in adults under 50, according to the Colon Cancer Coalition.

Thanks to 2021 change in guidelines that lowered the age of one's first colonoscopy from 50 to 45, 20 million more Americans are now eligible to get checked, Lead From Behind explains on its website.

Founded by tech entrepreneur and colon cancer survivor Brooks Bell, and powered by the Colorectal Cancer Alliance, Lead From Behind is the largest colon cancer nonprofit organization. Its goal is to make "colon cancer famous," inspiring millions to get checked and save 100,000 lives.

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