Late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel made a bid Tuesday night to raise colon cancer awareness — by devoting an entire segment of his show to his own colonoscopy.
With the help of journalist and colon cancer awareness advocate Katie Couric, Kimmel devoted a show segment to documenting the procedure, from preparation to recovery. The American Cancer Society recommends that men and women with average risk factors undergo a colonoscopy at age 50, which Kimmel reached in November.
“You’re about to watch a camera go where no camera has ever gone before,” he told the audience before launching into the segment.
Couric accompanied Kimmel on his colonoscopy. “People say this isn’t fun, but I say it’s a lot more fun than being diagnosed with colorectal cancer,” Couric told him just before the procedure began. “You should put that on a bumper sticker,” he responded.
Couric, whose first husband died of colorectal cancer in 1998, has been a longtime advocate of colon cancer screening and underwent her own on-air colonoscopy in 2000. That effort raised screenings by 20 percent, she told Kimmel.
“They called it the Couric Effect, and now we’re going to have the Kimmel Effect,” she told Kimmel. He responded, “I’ve always wanted to be associated with a polyp and/or the human colon.”
Cameras followed Kimmel into the procedure room, and the segment showed a few snippets of the colonoscopy — including pictures of Kimmel’s colon (and some added sound effects). The procedure turned up no polyps or other abnormalities. Afterward, Couric presented Kimmel with items she claimed were removed during the procedure, including a set of car keys and a harmonica.
She also reminded Kimmel (and viewers) that people over 50, or age 45 for African Americans, can arrange for colon cancer screening simply by talking to their doctor.
“Most insurance plans cover it, so you should take advantage of it,” she said.