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18th Sep 2022

Ryan Reynolds shared his experience of getting a colonoscopy after losing a bet

Trine Jensen-Burke

Ryan Reynolds

Ryan Reynolds may never be more grateful for losing a bet.

In February 2021, Hollywood actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney took over Wrexham Association Football Club, a small team from the north of Wales.

As part of documenting their journey as football club owners, the two actors have made a documentary, Welcome to Wrexham, which is available to stream on Hulu, Disney+ and ESPN+.

Upon buying the club and starting their documentary, the pair made a bet that Reynolds would broadcast his colonoscopy if McElhenney could learn Welsh. And sure enough, McElhenney learned Welsh and Reynolds proved to be a man of his word.

‘This might have saved your life’

In conjunction with the Colorectal Cancer Alliance in the US, Reynolds and McElhenney kicked off the Lead From Behind initiative, an effort to raise awareness about colon cancer and how to take steps to prevent it.

Earlier this year, both actors turned 45, the age new US guidelines recommend for getting a first colonoscopy.

“Part of being this age is getting a colonoscopy. It’s a simple step that could literally — and I mean literally — save your life,” Reynolds said in a video the pair made to raise awareness about the importance of getting a colonoscopy.

“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 a–,” Reynolds said in a voiceover as he walked into the hospital for his colonoscopy.


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Prior to undergoing the procedure, Reynolds was told by his doctor, Dr Lapook, how important a colonoscopy can be.

“It’s stunningly effective,” the doctor said.

After the procedure, Dr Lapook let Reynolds in on what happened, noting he found “an extremely subtle polyp.”

“You’re 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,” he said.

“Instead, you’re not only diagnosing the polyp, you’re taking it out. So, nobody would know that they had this, but he reached the age of screening, 45. He got a routine screening and there you go, that’s why people need to do this. They really need to do this. This saves lives, pure and simple.”

Reynolds shared the video on his Instagram page, eliciting scores of comments, including one from Katie Couric, who famously got a colonoscopy on TODAY in 2000, two years after her husband died from colon cancer.

“I’ve been on camera a lot. But this was the first time one was shoved up my a–,” 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 life-saving procedure to be less mysterious and stigmatized.”