Ryan Reynolds had his colonoscopy filmed to encourage screening

Is anyone watching Welcome to Wrexham? I wasn’t going to but a friend told me to start it. I don’t follow European football or know anything about its rules, and I rarely like reality anything, but now I’m invested in the city of Wrexham and its people and Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney may or may not be my heroes. We’ll see. I’m a fan of both men already, so they don’t have far to go. They seem, however, to be hedging their bets to win favor. Ryan and Rob recently had their colonoscopies filmed to destigmatize the procedure and encourage others to get it done. As you may or may not know, the American Cancer Society recommends colon screenings for people over the age of 45 to prevent colorectal cancer. Again, if you’ve been watching Welcome, the duo are filming a series of cute little promos for the club. In a crossover promotion, they bet each other they can’t learn Welsh, another big part of the docu-series. Ryan bets he can and if he can’t he promises to, “publicly broadcast his colonoscopy.” He loses, likely intentionally, and Rob good naturedly agrees to also have his colonoscopy filmed as well. And while the video is the usual Ryan frivolity, they actually found a polyp during the screening.

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.

[From Yahoo!]

So yeah, they also removed three polyps from Rob’s colon. Again, the polyps weren’t a big deal now, but neither man showed any symptoms and would have left those to grow to become very serious problems. That’s the point, colon cancer is incredibly preventable, but it has to be caught early. This is a great use of the guys’ brands. It incorporates their friendly competition, their general giving back vibe and they got to be smart asses about a really decent thing.

Here’s my deal though, and I’ll admit, I have yet to get my first colonoscopy. I know, I know – I promise! I have absolutely no problem with the scope part of it, I really don’t. Hand to God, I can’t handle the horror stories about the prep, though. And when I tell people that, they fall silent and say, “yeah, no – it’s terrible.” Someone needs to destigmatize that. I mean, certainly don’t film it, but incentivize it in some way. Or lie to me, stop groaning and telling me that yes, you will be in agony for 12 hours and then they’ll shove a camera up your derriere as a reward. Like, childbirth is romanticized more than the prep work for a colonoscopy. Maybe if Rob and Ryan called me and told me jokes during the prep hours, that would work. Or at least told me how the Wrexham season ends. Or when we’re getting the next season of Mythic Quest?

Photo credit: Avalon and Instangram

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39 Responses to “Ryan Reynolds had his colonoscopy filmed to encourage screening”

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  1. Pusspants says:

    I’m getting my first colonoscopy in 2 weeks & they now have an option to take 12 pills with water the night before instead of drinking the funky solution all day. So now the only difficult part for me will be sticking to consuming only clear liquids all day.

    • mander says:

      Wow, I hadn’t heard that. Yay! I’ve had one with the gunk to drink, which no one likes, but the procedure was great. I loved being put to sleep. Last year I got to do the “the mail in a sample” one. While not fun, was quick and easy.

    • shanaynay says:

      My Dr told me that they no longer give the pills, so I had to drink that gross drink. I think I’m going to need to speak with him. LOL! The only good thing, if you could call it good, was that I was able to mix the gross drink with some seltzer.

      • aftershocks says:

        My prep was not bad at all. I kept delaying getting a colonoscopy out of fear, but finally had my first one in 2020 (well after my 50s) when I began experiencing digestive issues. I was encouraged by Will Smith’s YouTube video “My Colonoscopy.”

        Like Reynolds and McElhenney, Will Smith’s goal was to spread awareness and to destigmatize the process with relatability and humor. I don’t know if Will’s video from a couple of years ago, is still up. If still available, it’s worth viewing. Will does not have the actual procedure filmed, but he shows conversations with his primary physician who encouraged him to get the screening and who gave him support and advice. One good friend of Will’s is also shown supporting him in the hospital after the procedure, with a lot of humor. Neither Jada, nor any of Will’s family members are in the video. It’s purely focused on the process, in order to show others how important it is to get a screening. I believe Will had several polyps removed, one of which was problematic.

        Personally, my screening turned out well, with only one flat benign polyp removed. My younger brother recently had a screening in his early 50s. He had 3 problematic polyps removed in good time, fortunately. When a polyp is described as flat, that means they are more difficult for doctors to detect during a screening, which is the reason why a thoroughly clean colon is important, which means proper prep.

        I simply had to change my diet to bland, soft foods and liquids within the week to three days leading up to the procedure. It’s according to your doctor and hospital regarding prescribed prep. That’s why it’s important to do research in advance and to find a physician and a prep procedure you are comfortable with. I feel lucky that I didn’t have to take that chalky liquid prep which everyone says tastes disgusting. There was the diet and then a day before laxatives to take, along with another over-the-counter powder I had to mix in 3 bottles of lime or lemon Gatorade — must not use dark or red Gatorade, it has to be a clear variety. Mixing the powder deftly amongst 3 bottles so the liquid doesn’t overflow out of the bottles was the most learning curve for me. Also, making sure with the doctor’s office what to eat and not eat (bland food like eggs and white rice, and lots of jello — but in hindsight I would look to use unsweetened jello with acceptable fruits and maybe lite coconut sugar or monk fruit sweetener added. Regular jello is way too high in white sugar content).

        Be prepared to sit on the toilet after the laxative and the Gatorade mix. Have wipes and lots of soft brand tissue. Once you start experiencing passing clear water, finish drinking all of the Gatorade mix. Some people make the mistake of thinking they don’t need to drink all of the prescribed liquid when they pass clear water. Drink it all so you are completely cleaned out. Have music and something calming to read with you in the bathroom. When you follow directions and prepare properly, it goes smoothly. I won’t have the same fears when I follow-up again in five years. Some patients have to do 3-year follow-ups. But don’t be afraid to get that first screening done! 👍👌

      • PUSSPANTS says:

        @Shanaynay, that’s interesting that your doctor told you the pills weren’t available. I wonder if they meant the pills weren’t covered by your insurance. My doctor’s office warned me that the pills aren’t universally covered yet since they’re the newest option, so they’d also give me a prescription for the liquid just incase the pills weren’t covered. I guess I got lucky & my insurance approved it.

        ETA: I also asked my doctor how common it is for them to find polyps. They said it’s very common to find them & less common someone has none at all (benign or otherwise)

      • MeganC says:

        Just had to drink Miralax mixed in Gatorade. It really wasn’t a big deal. The procedure is fast and painless.

        Afterwards I was incredibly relieved to have taken care of it after putting if off for years.

      • BeanieBean says:

        @MeganC: that was my prep, too. This was my second. Ten years ago, the first one had a regimen of a day or two of soft foods only, a day or two of liquids only, then drink a GALLON of that disgusting stuff (couldn’t get it all down) the day before in a specific amount of time. I was so pleased with the Miralax/Gatorade process. Same results! Hecate: truly, the prep is nothing. Clean as a whistle, both times.

    • Bean says:

      I’ve had mine done – everything was clear!
      The best advice I got was use a straw for the gross liquid so it doesn’t sit on your tongue when you’re swallowing and A and D ointment because your tushy is going to need it.

  2. Wren says:

    I have a strong family history of colon issues with my father passing away from cancer at 43 (I was 17). In the past 19 years, I’ve had at least 7 colonoscopies so I am an expert. The hardest part is not eating for 24 hours so I recommend getting the earliest appointment possible and getting pancakes as soon as you’re done. The medicine for the prep also makes a big difference. Ive done the pills (the best but my doctor doesnt really like them), Suprep (disgusting. Avoid this at all costs), and this last time, miralax, a stool softener, and a lot of gatorade (i highly recommend this!). Just stay home, wear comfy clothes, have a show to binge and i promise that when you wake up from the anesthesia, you’ll have forgotten all about the previous 12 hours.

    I strongly encourage everyone to get a colonoscopy because I’ve seen what happens when you don’t get one and it’s awful.

    • supersoft says:

      The Gatorade part is really important. I had to have colonoscopy three weeks ago at the hospital, they didnt get their appointments straight and i had to wait for it for two days and not eat for two days. The only thing that saved me were electrolytes. The prep fluid was pretty disgusting but managable. Luckily i took my own 4ply toilet paper from home with me to the hospital. I would have not made it with their two ply sand paper.

      • Jane+Smith says:

        I’ve been having treatment for AML since last November. I’ve spent about four months all together inpatient. Bringing toilet paper from home is a must!

    • aftershocks says:

      @Wren is so right about trying to schedule an early morning appointment rather than mid-to-late afternoon. The day before process is so much easier with an early morning appointment, so you don’t have to worry about overnight and early morning prep issues. You are fully cleaned out before going to bed. It’s easy to skip eating breakfast, get the procedure done early and get back home to rest.

      One of the issues is having a family member or friend available to be with you when you go in so the hospital can ensure a contact person to call after the procedure. You absolutely can not drive yourself home under the effects of the anesthetic wearing off post-procedure. Depending upon your doctor’s requirements, your contact shouldn’t have to stay at the hospital waiting, unless they want to and have the time.

      Also, one of the approved foods to eat is chicken noodle soup, which is soothing. 🙂👍

    • te says:

      I feel like I am an expert as well…I just got my 5th one done back in Feb. I had my first one 8 years ago as I was having digestive issues and they just wanted to check things out. I am so grateful as they found a polyp that would have definitely become cancerous if left unchecked!! Unfortunately for me the prep is the worst as I have a slow moving system so I actually have to do double prep work: a pre prep 2 nights before the procedure that basically involves me in the bathroom ALL day before the procedure. I don’t mean to scare anyone who is already apprehensive but this is just my experience and it is further excruciating for me because I have an anal fissure that gets triggered by the excessive pooping. So the prep is pure hell for me but the procedure itself is actually enjoyable – best nap ever after spending the previous day in hell! I have had so many since then because of the type of polyp (not a normal one) I was a one a every year tract for the first 2 years and then every 3 years and was supposed to be able to go to 5 years but my mom was then diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer so I am back on every 3. It’s a drag but a necessary evil and I can’t stress enough that the earlier the better. My situation is not normal so don’t be afraid – of all my friends who have just recently experienced their first no one had any issues and I joke with them as they report they can wait 10 yrs for their next one that I have already had more than they will have in their lifetime.

    • aftershocks says:

      Oh yes @Wren, my prep was the Miralax with Gatorade, and laxative pills beforehand. I didn’t find it bad to drink at all. Just mixing the Miralax evenly among three bottles was the hardest part for me. But that’s the best prep! The white liquid prep must be the worst. It apparently tastes awful. These days, it clearly is avoidable going through that messier process. So find an enlightened physician you are comfortable with, and make sure you follow the proper bland diet, so the cleaning out process works easier.

    • Emmi says:

      I had one this year at 38 because I had bouts of intense pain and vomiting. Turns out I had gallstones by my stomach and colon were in tip too shape.

      I had heard horror stories about the prep but it was fine. A wild ride but fine. I drank only 500ml twice, it was called Plenvu. My top tip: When it gets going, use Vaseline every time you‘ve wiped. Seriously. And don’t forget that after it’s over and you can eat again, the laxatives might still have an effect on that day. The procedure itself was fine, I got propofol. Bless that drug.

      • BeanieBean says:

        That’s a good reminder, be careful what your initial foods are after the procedure! Soft and bland to start with.

  3. Val says:

    I applaud them for trying to remove the stigma of talking about a part of the body that is somehow forbidden to discuss. Screening for any other disease is acceptable to promote and encourage, but because it’s the poop chute, no one can even mention it? Anyway, as far as the prep, if you start switching to a clear diet a couple of days before, the whole “spend the day” on the toilet thing really doesn’t happen. The drink is disgusting, for sure. I actually couldn’t keep that amount of liquid down, I border on dehydrated most of the time because I simply don’t consume large amounts of any liquid. So when I had to drink that huge amount, near the end I threw it back up and then I didn’t even finish the rest of the prep. My doctor said I was clean though, so again I think switching to liquid diet helped there too. Plus you get the best sleep of your life, the anesthesiologist said I am going to give you what they gave Michael Jackson, I was like WHY would you say that? But then when i woke up, I was like, hey yeah, I get why MJ was into propofol! 🙂

    • Northstar says:

      I had propofol for my colonoscopy as well, and literally said the same thing when I woke up. The most refreshing sleep I have ever had!

    • aftershocks says:

      ^^ Yep @Val, the clear diet protocol really helps reduce messiness of the cleaning out process!

      I actually had an endoscopy with the colonoscopy. If you have to get both procedures, it’s best to do it together. The endoscopy revealed overgrowth of Candida in my throat — ultimately related to an infected root canal tooth which had weakened my immune system and led to the overgrowth. That was also why I had digestive issues.

      So, the colonoscopy was just a benign flat polyp removed and the endoscopy uncovered a treatable condition which was resolved. I feel fortunate. Good hydration, proper diet, vitamins and exercise, along with meditation and laughter with loved ones are all very important. The longer I’ve lived, the more I’ve learned about the human body. 🌟

  4. Tulipworthy says:

    If you absolutely can’t handle the prep, you can go the Cologuard route.

  5. Deb says:

    Good thing these guys are doing, trying to raise awareness. I’ve been doing screening colonoscopies for years and polyps have been found and removed. So yes, it is a necessary evil. And yes they’re right, the procedure is a breeze because you’re sedated. But no lie, the prep is horrible. I have yet to have a gastroenterologist tell me the truth about the prep. Not a single one. I can only assume that since they know full well how awful it is, they’re afraid of scaring people off of having it done. Can’t wait for the day when a better way is found.

    • aftershocks says:

      The Gatorade with Miralax and laxatives, along with a bland clear diet in days leading up to final prep, is the current best method. Although, since I’m not an expert, I don’t know if there are reasons why some doctors prefer the disgusting chalky liquid. It would suck if it’s only related to keeping that pharma prep product in-the-money, or due to insurance approval issues. The less messy prep goes much smoother when you follow all the instructions.

      • Orangeowl says:

        I’m on a 5-year colonoscopy plan because of polyps and need to look into this prep option. I have only had Suprep, which is the most dreadful, vile liquid imaginable. That is the only part of the prep/procedure I have hated.

        To everyone worried about it, the unpleasant aspects really are fleeting and you’re back to normal before you know it. My husband learned the hard way about putting it off. When he finally went for a screening a few years late, they found large, cancerous polyps. He was extremely lucky the cancer had not yet spread. Now he has to have one every year, at least for a while.

  6. K8erade says:

    RR has always been that celebrity that I wanted to my best friend but his recent actions have developed into a full blown crush in the way you develop a crush on a married man and think his wife is pretty lucky. This issue is so important to me. For me, I’m required to have a biannual colonoscopy. I have Celiac Disease and colon cancer runs high on one side of my family. That combo suggests it’s a matter of when rather than if. I had a scare two years ago that got me the celiac diagnosis and it happened around the same time Chadwick Boseman died of Colon Cancer. I’m still recovering from the wreck I became at that time. My GI specialist said they’ve seen an uptick in North America of colon cancer diagnoses in the last decade alone. Go get checked!!!

  7. Gwendolyn says:

    As someone who’s done this twice, the prep has gotten better, but it’s not agony, it’s annoying. The stuff you drink isn’t tasty, but it’s not hideously repulsive. Just plan to live in the bathroom. Take a good book or your phone, because you will be there a while, and around 4am you’ll think you’re done and your intestines will go ‘au contraire’ and more toilet time will occur. Then you go and get some really fabulous drugs and next thing you know you’re getting photos of your colon and told how it went.

    Colon cancer runs in my family, so I always urge people to get the screening if your insurance covers it.

    And Welcome to Wrexham is lovely and great advertising for Wales. I think more people visit Wales now than when I lived in the UK in the 90s, but visiting there always felt like a hidden gem with fewer tourists and super friendly locals.

    • Fortuona says:

      Hecate – They lost in the playoffs to Gimsby ( where Flo Pugh granddad is from) after they lost the league to Stockport by 6 points and finished 2nd , then they got to the Final of the FA Trophy and lost in that as well


  8. Seraphina says:

    Thank you everyone for the laughs. I’m scheduled for my first one soon. I needed to get some comic relief.

  9. molly says:

    I REALLY want to know how/why he changed his brand from “LOL, here’s a tweet about how I hate my wife and kids” to “they’re actually great and I’m doing legit good in the world.”

    I’ve always felt the former was his celeb persona, and the latter his truer self, but the evolution has been fascinating. This activist, passionate, earnest Ryan who does projects he clearly loves, with people he clearly adores, is so much more appealing.

  10. Aubree says:

    Last year at 39 years old I had my first colonoscopy due to family history. They found a foot long tumor in my colon, no symptoms. A month later i had 95% of my colon removed and am doing well today.
    If I would waited a few more years it would have been too late.
    Please get screened. And if you have a family history of colon cancer, consider getting genetic testing. I did and found out I have Lynch Syndrome, which prompted the colonoscopy in the first place

    Also, the prep isn’t nearly as bad as people make it out to be….so dont worry! Just do it!

  11. AmyB says:

    As someone who has given birth AND had a colonoscopy, I can say with no hesitation, BIRTH is much worse (especially since I had no drugs whatsoever!! – that wasn’t me being tough lol, I just progressed so fast there wasn’t time left).

    Yeah, the prep is not fun, but it’s basically like have a bad stomach bug, so you live in the bathroom. The liquid you have to drink is not good, but it’s doable, trust me. The drugs they knock you out with are marvelous lol, and you get to eat a great meal when finished!

    Ladies, if you have had kids, this is nothing compared to that haha!!!

    • Persephone says:

      I agree with you. The prep is not fun, but is not as bad as could be, and I did get to drink a lot of clear apple juice and white grape juice. I don’t remember drinking anything funky – I remember mixing mine with Crystal Lite, so it tasted pretty good.
      And yes, the knockout drugs were great! I don’t remember anything lol.
      P.S. I had a crab and lobster lunch afterwards. It was delicious.

  12. anon says:

    My sister died 5 years ago of colon cancer at the age of 36. I’ve had 3 colonoscopies now, it’s not a big deal. The prep is the worst part…. Do it, it can save your life.

  13. Prairiegirl says:

    The video is hilarious and a great way to get the word out about the importance of testing. I hope it’s circulated far and wide.

  14. Trish says:

    So glad that they are raising awareness. It’s so important. I have UC and I’m actually late to getting mine, it’ll be in January and I use Crystal Lite to get the prep down. It works for me the best.

    • MsGnomer says:

      I cant have sugar, so thank you for your post. I will be buying crystal lite for this procedure. I dont like ingesting the artificial sweeteners, but probably okay for a short period of time.

  15. samipup says:

    @ Kaiser:
    1: I dreaded the prep but –
    1. They have made it much easier. Basically its one a done, or maybe two. You don’t have to spend hours drinking and getting rid of that stuff. Ima nurse, could say that in fancier words but this gets that across.
    2. Charwick Bozeman and others wanted people to KNOW colonoscopies save lives.

  16. Bread and Circuses says:

    The prep is not fun, but it’s (usually) not that bad. Get a book to read and plan to just sit on the toilet for the three-to-four hours it’ll take for everything to finish draining out of your system.

    If you’re prone to nausea, here’s something helpful you can do beforehand: Get some ginger root and grate about 1 inch of it into a big pot of water, then bring it all to a boil.

    Let it cool and drain it through cloth (like a clean tea towel, or a coffee filter). That gets the solid ginger out, and then it’s safe to drink alongside your prep liquid (it’ll still be cloudy, but like coconut water, it won’t mess up your colonoscopy).

    Ginger is a very good anti-nausea remedy. Bring a jug of your ginger tea into the bathroom with you. If you start feeling icky during your prep, you can drink a cup of ginger tea to settle your stomach, then go back to drinking your prep liquid.

  17. Siobhan says:

    Good for him! I had my first one done somewhat early at 38 after some unusual (for me) GI patterns, and I can firmly say that the prep process was so, so much worse than the actual procedure of which I had no memory and was like a nice nap. I also had an endoscopy done at the same time and that sucked way worse (at least the part I remember before I was all the way under – feeling your throat go all the way numb and feeling like you can’t swallow is the worssttttttt). Of all medical procedures I’ve ever had the colonoscopy was such not a big deal that for anyone with concerns, please ask your doctor about them. And for others, start getting your colonoscopy at 45 as reccomended it’s truly not a big deal at all and can save so many lives as the early stages of colon cancer in young people are often unrecognizable until things get very advanced.

  18. AppleCart says:

    I had my first colonoscopy at 48 and glad I did. They found some precancerous growths and removed them. So now I have to have it done every 3 years. I am due soon. And happy to hear you can do pills now. I don’t think I could stomach another gallon of that awful drink.

    It really is the easiest thing (beside the pooping the day before) you just go in go to sleep and wake up when it’s done. Easy peasy!