Ryan Reynolds undergoes colonoscopy on camera to raise awareness of new guidelines

“Did they find Rosebud up there?” Reynolds asks a nurse when the procedure is complete.

Actor Rob McElhenney, who created and starred in the long-running comedy “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” teamed up with Reynolds on the project and also underwent a videotaped colonoscopy.

“If they find a polyp, it’s either bigger than his, which is great, or smaller than his, which means I’m less likely to get cancer. Either way, I win,” McElhenney told the camera while awaiting his procedure.

While joking and poking fun at each other, Reynolds and McElhenney made it clear that they were there to raise awareness of the new guidelines lowering the age for colon screening from 50 to 45.

“Rob and I turned 45 this year,” Reynolds said in the video. “And you know, part of this age is having a colonoscopy. It’s a simple step that could literally – and I mean, literally – save your life.”

Reynolds’ procedure, performed by CBS chief medical correspondent Jonathan LaPook, led to the discovery of a small polyp in the actor’s colon.

“You did such a good prep that I was able to find an extremely subtle polyp on the right side of your colon,” LaPook told a drowsy Reynolds after the procedure.

“It potentially saved your life. I’m not kidding. I’m not being overly dramatic. That’s exactly why you’re doing this,” LaPook added.

During McElhenney’s procedure, Los Angeles gastroenterologist Dr. Leo Treyzon found three very small polyps.

“It wasn’t a big deal, but it’s definitely a good thing that we found them early and took them out,” Treyzon told the recovering actor.

McElhenney, who acted happy to have beaten Reynolds’ lone polyp, then asked the doctor what he could do to prevent a recurrence.

There’s no solid evidence yet that dietary changes can make a difference, Treyzon replied, “but what does make a difference is screening and monitoring.”

A bet that has become serious

Reynolds and McElhenney are co-chairmen of Welsh Football Club Wrexham AFC, a fifth division football club founded in 1864 in a dying mining town in Wales. Both have invested in the club to bring the community back to life. The trip inspired a docuseries on FX called “Welcome to Wrexham.”

“You know, the heart of all sports is competition, and Rob and I think we’re pretty competitive guys,” Reynolds said in the video’s intro. “We’re so competitive, in fact, that last year Ryan and I made a bet,” McElhenney added.

The bet was that if McElhenney could learn to speak Welsh, Reynolds would undergo a public colonoscopy.

“Have we?” Reynolds replied innocently. “I do not remember.”

As McElhenney begins to explain the bet in Welsh, Reynolds breaks down and admits he made the bet.

The new video, made in partnership with the Colorectal Cancer Alliance and fellow colon cancer awareness organization, Lead From Behind, did not show the colonoscopy procedure itself, either for Reynolds or McElhenney. The video only showed sedation and recovery.

Colon cancer survivor says it's time to take the disease seriously
In contrast, former “Today” host Katie Couric aired her entire procedure in 2000 — from prepping for Eve to a lightly sedated Couric watching the procedure as it unfolded.

To do a colonoscopy, a gastroenterologist inserts a flexible tube topped with a tiny camera through the rectum and throughout the colon to look for small growths called polyps that can turn cancerous.

“I have a nice little colon,” Couric said with a sleepy chuckle as he watched the video projection of the scope inside his colon. “You haven’t put the telescope on yet, have you?” asked Couric, whose husband died of colon cancer at age 42 in 1998.

“Yes! We’re doing the exam. We’re almost done,” said her physician, Dr. Kenneth Forde, who taught for nearly 40 years at Columbia University’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. Forde died in 2019.

Like Couric’s experiment shown, the procedure is painless relativity, even in the waking state. However, like Reynolds and McElhenney, most people are more heavily sedated and rarely wake up during a colonoscopy.

Couric posted on Reynolds’ Instagram in response to the video, “Come on Ryan! (Wait! You’ve already done this!) thanks for spreading the word!”


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