Ryan Reynolds and Wrexham football club co-owner Rob McElhenney have filmed themselves undergoing colonoscopies to raise awareness of the potentially life-saving procedure.
The Deadpool star, 45, shared his experience with the procedure in a new clip produced by colon cancer organisation Lead from Behind, in association with the Colorectal Cancer Alliance.
In the clip, Reynolds and McElhenney begin by explaining that the video is the result of the Free Guy star losing a bet. Reynolds reportedly bet that he would allow his colonoscopy to be filmed if McElhenney learned to speak Welsh.
McElhenney shared the news of Reynolds’ defeat in Welsh, with the actor telling viewers: “He was so sure he said he’d publicly broadcast his colonoscopy if I could do it,” according to the captions.
Reynolds then noted that, as he and McElhenney both turned 45 this year, part of “being this age is getting a colonoscopy”. “It’s a simple step that could literally, and I mean literally, save your life,” the actor continued.
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), people at average risk for colorectal cancer should begin screening at age 45.
While Reynolds admitted as he arrived for his colonoscopy that he would “never normally” film himself undergoing any kind of medical procedure, he acknowledged that it’s “not everyday that you can raise awareness about something that will most definitely save lives”.
After the 25-minute procedure, the video showed Reynolds waking up from the colonoscopy, at which point his doctor informed him that he was able to find an “extremely subtle polyp” on the right side of his colon.
“This was potentially life-saving for you – I’m not kidding, I’m not being overly dramatic,” the doctor told Reynolds. “This is exactly why you do this. You had no symptoms.”
The video then showed Reynolds’ doctor pointing to the polyp in question on the actor’s scan, which he said he was able to remove.
“You are interrupting the natural history of a disease of something of a process that could have ended up developing into cancer and causing all sorts of problems,” the actor’s doctor explained. “Instead, you’re not only diagnosing the polyp, you’re taking it out.”
Reynolds’ doctor also noted that the polyp is proof of why it is so important for individuals to undergo routine colonoscopy screenings.
The It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia star then shared footage of his own colonoscopy, with the video showing McElhenney waking up to the realisation that the procedure was “so easy”.
The actor’s doctor then informed him that he had “only good news,” and that they had found three polyps during the procedure.
“They were small. They were not a big deal, but certainly a good thing that we found them early and removed them,” the doctor told the actor as he sat up in his hospital bed.
The clip concluded with running text, which read: “Colon cancer is preventable. If you’re 45 or older, ask your doctor about getting a colonoscopy. And help Rob and Ryan kick colon cancer’s a**.”
In a statement, Reynolds added: “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 stigmatised.”
While colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in the US when men and women are combined, regular screening can find colorectal cancer when it is small, hasn’t spread, and might be easier to treat, according to the ACS.
On social media, the duo’s new video has been met with praise from fans, with many applauding the actors for highlighting the importance of routine colonoscopies.
“Words escape me at how amazing this is. I’ve always loved @VancityReynolds but damn I have so much respect for him now. #colonoscopies are extremely important,” one person tweeted, while another said: “Okay I freaking love this and how they’re bringing awareness to colon cancer risks/how easy colonoscopies are.”