Actors from the spotlight document their colonoscopies to raise awareness

The actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney are playing two distinct roles in a new commercial to promote the value of colon cancer screening.

The two Hollywood celebrities recorded their own colonoscopies in order to emphasise a very serious subject with a little fun. Importantly, males with average risk should receive their first colonoscopy at 45 years old, which is the new recommendation age from many top medical organisations.

Reynolds learned that doctors spotted and removed a polyp, or precancerous lesion, during the Lead From Behind campaign filming that had the potential to turn into something more dangerous. Three polyps were discovered by McElhenny’s doctor, who also removed them. The results emphasise the value of screening men, especially younger men, who are at average risk for colorectal cancer.

Gastroenterologists applaud Reynolds and McElhenney for utilising their popularity to demonstrate how simple and life-saving a colonoscopy can be.

David A. Johnson, MD, a gastroenterologist with a private practise in Norfolk, Virginia, who has worked on national colon cancer guidelines for the past 20 years, says “I thought Ryan and Rob did a terrific job.”

Given that both of them had polyps, colonoscopy “is definitely the best test for screening,” according to Johnson. According to him, the goal of screening is to find any potential problems before they result in cancer.

Dr. Rajesh N. Keswani concurs that the campaign is crucial. “In general, the message was really powerful. Everyone participating, from the celebs to the doctors, did a fantastic job making sure that all the crucial topics were covered.

A gastroenterologist and the medical director of quality and integration for the Northwestern Medicine Digestive Health Center in Chicago, Dr. Keswani, claims that the colonoscopy technique is “more than just easy; they prove it by showing the patients laughing and eating after the procedure.”

According to Jessica Bernica, MD, assistant professor of medicine – gastroenterology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Reynolds, star of the “Deadpool” films, and McElhenney, creator and star of the TV show “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” both let their comedic abilities shine.

“I love this video, in my opinion. What isn’t funny about watching Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney emerge from anaesthesia? It also conveys a very important message about the value of colon cancer screening, she adds.

Bernica commended the campaign for emphasising the colonoscopy’s younger suggested age, its capacity to identify and remove precancerous polyps, and the fact that it’s a “easy and routine operation not to be frightened.”

I should also point out that both Ryan and Rob had excellent bowel preparations, which are essential for a successful screening colonoscopy.

“Couric Effect”

Reynolds and McElhenny may have given it their own spin, but they are not the first famous people to use their platform to promote colon cancer awareness.

According to Johnson, “Katie Couric did this when she lost her husband Jay Monahan,” so this actually goes back to that time. The Couric Effect was created as a result of the impact being so significant on colonoscopy screening.

Numerous studies have shown that such efforts can increase colon cancer screening rates, most notably when Couric successfully promoted colon cancer screening by televising her colonoscopy, according to Keswani.

Following the age of 50, Will Smith also released a “extremely thorough documentary in his trip through colonoscopy,” according to Johnson. Smith learns from his doctor that they discovered a polyp in his cecum, a pouch that connects the small intestine to the colon, in I Vlogged My Colonoscopy. Over 4 million people have watched the YouTube video.

“Chadwick Boseman followed. The Black Panther actor, who passed away from colon cancer at the age of 43, got the ailment at a very young age, according to Johnson.

COVID’s Impact

Johnson adds that the Lead From Behind campaign’s timing is crucial because the COVID-19 outbreak prompted many people to put off getting colonoscopies and other health checks. “We’re witnessing a rise in colon cancer,” he claims.

This is an excellent reminder that we need to take preventative action, he argues.

Johnson emphasised that home colon cancer screenings can identify those who already have the disease. While biopsies obtained during a colonoscopy can also be utilised for detection, colonoscopy is about early screening to prevent cancer.

Starting a Dialogue

Conversations about colon cancer may begin as a result of the publicity celebrities can generate. This kind of effort, according to Bernica, is an excellent approach to increase awareness and normalise a component of preventative healthcare that many individuals would probably be reluctant to discuss in public.

According to the most current National Institutes of Health figures from 2019, only approximately 67% of persons aged 50 to 75 had had screening for colorectal cancer, despite the fact that it is the third most frequent disease diagnosed in the United States and is avoidable, Bernica said. “Hopefully, this message will serve as the catalyst to encourage others who haven’t been tested to do so.”

Johnson believes that celebrities like Reynolds and McElhenney who take time out of their regular schedules to promote a crucial public health message transcend the status of mere celebrities. He claims that “this genuinely transforms a celebrity into a superstar.”

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