Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney hope to kick colon cancer in the ass.
The American Cancer Society recommends that people with an average risk of colorectal cancer begin regular screenings at the age of 45. In an effort to raise awareness, the duo partnered with Lead From Behind, a new initiative that helps spread the message that colon cancer is “preventable cancer.”
Reynolds and McElhenney, co-chairs of Welsh Football Club Wrexham AFC, explained in a video posted on Tuesday that the decision to film their procedures was the result of Reynolds losing a bet.
The duo had bet that McElhenney wouldn’t be able to learn Welsh. Apparently, Reynolds was so sure he wouldn’t do it, he said he would “go public with his colonoscopy” if McElhenney could prove him wrong. It turns out that he has lost the bet. But since McElhenney is a good sport, he decided to film his colonoscopy too.
“I’ve been in front of the camera a lot. But this was the first time one was pushed up my ass,” Reynolds said in a statement. “The procedure and preparation was painless, but the discomfort of filming and sharing the process was the hardest part. Rob and I did it because we want this potentially life-saving procedure to be less mysterious and stigmatized.”
“Ryan and I turned 45 this year and that’s just a rite of passage,” added McElhenney, “and great because it can literally save your life. It’s obviously a procedure that makes people uncomfortable, but it sure beats the 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? “
They both hope the video indicates the importance of undergoing a colonoscopy.
“Normally I would never have any medical procedures put in front of the camera and then shared,” Reynolds says in the video as he heads to the hospital. “It’s not every day that you raise awareness of something that is sure to save lives. That’s enough motivation for me to get you into a camera being pushed up my ass.”
A doctor ended up removing an extremely thin polyp on the right side of Reynolds’ colon, which the doctor described as “potentially life-saving.” 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 colorectal cancer rates are higher in minority populations, according to the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
By 2030, colorectal cancer could be the leading cause of cancer death in adults under 50, according to the Colon Cancer Coalition.
Thanks to the 2021 guideline change that lowered the age of the first colonoscopy from 50 to 45, 20 million more Americans can now be screened, Lead From Behind explains on its website.
Founded by tech entrepreneur and colon cancer survivor Brooks Bell and sponsored by the Colorectal Cancer Alliance, Lead From Behind is the largest colon cancer nonprofit organization. His goal is to make “colon cancer” famous, inspiring millions of people to get checked and save 100,000 lives.
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