Screening Saves Lives

Ryan Reynolds Shoved A Camera Up His Butt (For A Very Good Cause)

Ryan Reynolds has his friend Rob McElhenney to thank after a bet he lost resulted in him getting a potentially life-saving colonoscopy — with a camera crew present.

Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney sit on a couch talking about their coloscopies.
Ryan Reynolds / YouTube

Ryan Reynolds lost a bet, and it might have saved his life. The actor recently underwent a colonoscopy — a routine medical procedure recommended to everyone by the time they turn 45 for preventative screening. But because he’s Ryan Reynolds and he lost a bet, it all happened on camera.

According to People, Ryan and Rob made a bet with each other for some lighthearted fun. Their bet ended with both getting a colonoscopy, which sounds like a weird journey, but all the twists ended up for the better. The two actors detailed their experiences in a new video from colon cancer awareness organization Lead From Behind in association with the Colorectal Cancer Alliance.

Starting the video, Ryan and Rob make a bet with each other. If Rob learned to speak Welsh, Ryan would let cameras follow him as he gets a colonoscopy.

"He was so sure [I’d lose] he said he'd publicly broadcast his colonoscopy if I could do it," Rob said in Welsh.

"It's a simple step that could literally, and I mean literally, save your life," Ryan said, noting that both he and Rob were now 45 years old — the recommended time to have a colonoscopy.

So... Ryan lost the bet and took viewers along with him as he had the procedure done. His doctor explained it would take 30 minutes, and when the procedure was done, Ryan’s doctor explained the results.

"This was potentially life-saving for you — I'm not kidding, I'm not being overly dramatic," the doctor told Ryan. "This is exactly why you do this. You had no symptoms."

During the procedure, the colonoscopy revealed Ryan had an "extremely subtle polyp,” which the doctor was able to remove.

"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,” the doctor said.

Rob ended up deciding to have a colonoscopy as well, through which his doctor discovered three polyps. Though his "were not a big deal,” per the doctor, it was “certainly a good thing that we found them early and removed them."

The video is fun — and very on brand for these guys — but it’s also, critically, an important message that men should get screened for colon cancer and that the ideal way to do that is before any symptoms push you to see the doctor.

The American Cancer Society says that screening should start at 45 years old, and that if more people do so, more lives will be saved. (The age recommendation for your first colon cancer screening is earlier for those who are at higher risk of developing the disease.)

Early screening is particularly important for Black adults, who have the highest rate of developing cancer of any other group in the country, per the American Cancer Society. In addition, Black adults are 40% more likely to die of colorectal cancer than any other group.

Ryan and Rob taking the audience along for the colonoscopy ride helps raise awareness for the importance of routine screening while answering some questions and fears. It’s a 30-minute procedure, and it can literally be life-saving.

For more information on colorectal cancers and colonoscopies, visit and this Fatherly article on the symptoms of colon cancer.