The Free Guy actor, 45, and Rob McElhenney, co-chairmen of the Welsh soccer team Wrexham A.F.C., partnered with colon cancer awareness organization Lead From Behind after Reynolds lost a bet.
The Deadpool star said that if McElhenney could learn some of the Welsh language, he would have to film a video getting a colonoscopy. Reynolds and the It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia star, also 45, took over the team in February 2021.
After the dad of three—who shares kids James, 7, Inex, 5, and Betty 2, with wife Blake Lively, 35—lost, he learned critical information about his health.
“I would never normally have any medical procedure put on camera and then shared,” Reynolds said in the clip, which was posted on Tuesday, September 13. “But 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**.”
During the colonoscopy, Reynolds’ doctor—who said the 30-minute procedure is “stunningly effective”—revealed he found an “extremely subtle polyp” on the right side of Reynolds’ colon, which was immediately removed.
“This was potentially live-saving for you. I’m not kidding. I’m not being overly dramatic,” Dr. Lapook said. “This is exactly why you do this. You had no symptoms.”
Meanwhile, McElhenney had three polyps. Though they “were not a big deal,” his doctor said, they too were removed as a precaution.
Newsweek reached out to Reynolds’ and McElhenney’s representatives for additional comment.
The video, which has since been viewed more than 200,000 times on YouTube, prompted people to share their own colonoscopy stories.
“I finally got my colonoscopy done earlier this year, at age 66. They removed eight polyps,” one person wrote, which garnered 373 likes at the time of publication. “Thank God I did this procedure.”
“Just turned 29 yesterday, got my first colonoscopy when I was 27 and had many polyps removed,” a second said. “With a family history of colon cancer, I thought it was important to get in there well before 45. My father was diagnosed when he was in his mid 40s and it was caught too late. Sharing this type of information is really life saving.”
A third added, “I had my first routine colonoscopy earlier this year. They found stage two cancer. I had an operation a couple of weeks later, and spent the summer recovering. I am now cancer-free. If I had not decided to have this simple procedure, the cancer would have killed me before I could have seen my daughters grow up. And they would have lost their father. This procedure saves lives.”
Others shared similar stories on Twitter.
“Thank you for bringing awareness! I just had a precancerous scare that they were able to catch at age 45,” a separate person posted. “The screening was life changing! #leadfrombehind”
“I was diagnosed with colon cancer in February of this year. I’m 34 years old. It can happen to anyone and I appreciate you raising awareness,” someone else tweeted. “Thank you, sincerely, for using your platform to reach people with such an important message.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “regular screening, beginning at age 45, is the key to preventing colorectal cancer and finding it early.”