Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney are raising awareness for colon cancer screenings as only they can. In a new video created to announce a new initiative called Lead from Behind, in partnership with the Colorectal Cancer Alliance, Reynolds and McElhenney candidly shared their own experiences getting preventative colonoscopies. The two actors, who also co-own the soccer club Wrexham A.F.C., joke that sharing the video originated from a bet over whether or not McElhenney could learn how to speak Welsh. Ultimately, both actors shared their experiences with the procedure — including that they both uncovered non-threatening polyps on their colons that were then removed.
"This was potentially life-saving for you — I'm not kidding, I'm not being overly dramatic," the doctor says in the interview. "This is exactly why you do this. You had no symptoms... 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."
McElhenney then subsequently ignored the bet and showcased footage of his own colonoscopy — and used it as an excuse to create some friendly competition with Reynolds.
"I figure I can't go wrong in terms of comparing myself to Ryan," McElhenney joked. "They either find nothing and that means my colon was cleaner than his, or they find a polyp and it's either bigger than his, which is awesome, or it's smaller than his, which means I had less of an opportunity to have cancer — either way, I win."
In a press release announcing the Lead From Behind video, Reynolds and McElhenney spoke about their decision to show the procedures on camera.
"I've been on camera a lot. But this was the first time one was shoved up my a**," Reynolds explained. "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."
"Ryan and I both turned 45 this year and this is just a rite of passage," McElhenney added. "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?"