Actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney are bringing a new meaning to the term “lead from behind.” The two are raising awareness about colon cancer by filming their colonoscopy experiences.
Reynolds’ colonoscopy was performed by CBS News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook.
Reynolds personally came to LaPook, who was his doctor before, to ask him to perform the colonoscopy after the actor turned 45 years old—which is the new recommended age to begin screening for people of average risk.
LaPook told “CBS Mornings” on Tuesday that the recommended age of screening recently dropped down from 50 years after doctors began to see colon cancer in younger people.
“He wanted to raise awareness and said let’s do this PSA,” LaPook said.
It was the first time that Reynolds ever had a colonoscopy, and in the PSA, Reynolds said he was willing to be open about his medical procedure to help “save lives.”
“I would never normally have any medical procedure put on camera. It’s not every day where you can raise awareness on something that will most definitely save lives,” Reynolds said in the PSA. “That’s enough motivation for me to let you in.”
After the procedure, LaPook informed Reynolds that he found an “extremely subtle polyp” on the right side of Reynold’s colon. A colon polyp is a small clump of cells that has the potential to turn over time into cancer.
“This was potentially lifesaving for you. I am not being overly dramatic. This is exactly why you do this. You had no symptoms,” LaPook told Reynolds. “You are interrupting the natural history of a disease of something of a process that could have ended up, you know, developing into cancer and causing all sorts of problems. Instead, you are not only diagnosing the polyp, you are taking it out.”
LaPook was able to cut out the polyp during the colonoscopy. During McElhenney’s colonoscopy, doctors found three small polyps that were also removed.
LaPook said that it is important that both men and women get a colonoscopy to prevent them from getting colon cancer.
“We have to raise awareness,” said LaPook.
To learn more information about getting a colonoscopy, visit LeadFromBehind.org.