What Ryan Reynolds Taught Me About the Importance of Men’s Health
There comes a point in adulthood when you realize that you are not a kid anymore. Perhaps it’s a major life event, like graduation, marriage, having children, or being recognized by your cohorts through award or promotion. Perhaps it is a more somber event like rejection or the passing of a loved one.
The milestone that you pass, when this realization occurs, is different for everyone. I don’t know Ryan Reynolds personally (yet!), but I imagine this realization may have happened to him recently. Ryan and his friend Rob McElhaney are both famous actors. These friends are very competitive and are not afraid to use their celebrity status for a good cause.
They made a bet earlier this year, as a part of the Lead From Behind campaign, powered by the Colorectal Cancer Alliance, to bring attention to the prevention of colon cancer. The loser of the bet had to publicly share their experience getting their first colonoscopy. If you haven’t watched the video, I highly recommend it, as it is both entertaining and informative. *Spoiler* they both end up getting a colonoscopy and sharing their experience – and it’s a good thing that they did!
To see Ryan and Rob take on a serious topic like this is eye opening. I applaud them for bringing to light – as well as making light of – a very important, adult topic. At 48, I am now in the age range where a colonoscopy screening is recommended. I thought I had a couple more years, but Ryan and Rob have done their job well and brought me new information. It’s time to do this. I have my next wellness visit scheduled in December. I will be sure to discuss a colonoscopy with my doctor and get it scheduled at the next opportunity.
Why do I bring this up? Well, November is Men’s Health Awareness Month. Blue Yonder is participating in No-Shave November (often called Movember), when men forgo shaving and grow out a beard in order to raise cancer awareness.
While colon cancer does not discriminate by gender, there is a slightly higher risk for men. Colon cancer, along with many other diseases, are preventable through early and routine screening. Unfortunately, men are statistically less likely to visit their primary care provider for routine exams and screenings. A 2019 survey by the Cleveland Clinic states that “72 percent of men would rather do household chores, like cleaning the bathroom or mowing the lawn, than go to the doctor.” Unfortunately, several recent articles suggest that even in our COVID-19 world, this trendline is not improving.
A few key stats around colon cancer:
- Colon cancer was the second largest cancer killer worldwide in 2020. It doesn’t need to be – because it’s preventable.
- The best way to prevent colon cancer is by getting a colonoscopy when you turn 45. The guidelines changed in 2021 lowering the age from 50 to 45.
- People don’t want to talk about colonoscopies, let alone get one. The Lead From Behind campaign is an effort to break that taboo.
- Colon cancer is rising in young people. It is predicted to be the top cancer killer for people under 50 by 2030.
The excuses for not going to see your doctor regularly are many and varied. Other than difficulty getting access to medical care, few excuses are rational. Early and routine screening for preventable diseases, like colon cancer, saves lives. If you have the means, and you have not made a plan to visit your doctor for a routine wellness visit, the time is now. If Deadpool can do it, so can we.