Getting older means a lot of things: a wiser take on the world, neck issues from sleeping weird, and making preventative medical procedures a priority. Celebrities age just like us (even though Botox would have you fooled), and they too have to go to the doctor for check ups and testing. And what started as a silly bet between friends turned out to be a possible life-saving event for actor Ryan Reynolds.
The Deadpool star, who is also the co-chairman of the Welsh football club, Wrexham Association Football Club, shared his experience of getting a colonoscopy with the world after Reynolds bet friend and fellow chairman of the football club, Rob McElhenny, that he wouldn’t learn how to speak Welsh. If he did, Reynolds would film his colonoscopy and share it on social media with the world.
“Rob and I both turned 45 this year and you know, part of being this age is getting a colonoscopy,” Reynolds said in the video. “It’s a simple step that could literally, and I mean literally, save your life.”
The friends, who also are supporters of the organization Lead From Behind which a new initiative hoping to bring awareness that colon cancer is “the preventable cancer.”
In the video documenting Reynold’s procedure, he joked that the most uncomfortable part was sharing the experience on social media. The actual medical process was painless. “I’ve been on camera a lot. But this was the first time one was shoved up my ass … The procedure and prep were painless but the discomfort of filming and sharing the process was the hardest part.”
The results from Reynold’s colonoscopy turned out to be the exact reason why people should get routine procedures like this one done. Reynolds actually had 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 shared. “This is exactly why you do this. You had no symptoms.”
He continued, “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.”
McElhenny, who also underwent the procedure, had three small polyps removed.
According to the American Cancer Society, there is no way to 100% prevent colorectal cancer. However, by taking preventative measures, like getting a colonoscopy, you’re greatly increasing your chances of catching something early.
Through regular screening, polyps, like the one found on Reynolds, can be found and removed before they turn into cancer.
After such a close-to-home moment, Reynolds is more committed than ever to Lead from Behind their mission to bring awareness to colorectal cancer and breaking the stigma.
“It’s not every day that you can raise awareness about something that will most definitely save lives,” Reynolds said.
There’s a stigma surrounding colorectal cancer just because it involves a sensitive area of they body — and that stigma results in lost lives. Ryan Reynolds used humor and his notoriety to fight that stigma, and that’s incredibly meaningful. It also likely did more good than he can know.