This year 52,550 people are expected to die from Colorectal Cancer.

Screening could save more than half of those lives.

Learn More About Your Risk

Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

March 2023

Tracy's Story

“Dr. Pennings was able to give me the opportunity to enjoy life again…You couldn’t ask for any better care. They make you feel as though everything is going to be okay.”

– Tracy

Colon Cancer Surgery Patient


Colon cancer can be prevented with screening because it’s highly treatable when caught early. The American Cancer Society recommends that adults without a family history should begin colorectal cancer screening at age 45.

Most colorectal cancers begin as benign (non-cancerous) clumps of cells, known as polyps, which can develop into cancer over time. Since polyps often have no symptoms, regular screening through colonoscopy is a very effective way to prevent and treat cancer early on. At Northwest Institute for Digestive Surgery, our team of experts provide outpatient cancer screenings in a reassuring setting. Your health and comfort are our utmost concern.

Ask your health care provider about your risk.

Colorectal Cancer Symptoms

  • Blood in stool
  • Changes in bowel habits
  • Persistent abdominal pain
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Precancerous polyps and colorectal cancer don’t always cause symptoms, especially at first.

Our Clinic

The surgeons at Northwest Institute for Digestive Surgery are trained in the entire spectrum of benign and malignant digestive diseases. All of our specialists have completed accredited fellowship training programs. Fellowship training is beyond what is required in standard residency training and is the highest level of surgical training attainable. Our surgeons have completed this rigorous training to become the highest level experts in the medical and surgical aspects of gastrointestinal diseases. Call to make an appointment.
(208) 262-0945


Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S.

When To Get Screened

If you You should
Are age 45 to 75 and are at average risk Get screened regularly
Are age 76 to 85 and are at average risk Talk with your provider about whether to continue screenings
Have inflammatory bowel disease Talk with your provider about screenings before the age of 45
Have a personal or family history of colon cancer, polyps,
ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease
Talk with your provider about screenings before the age of 45
Are experiencing symptoms Talk with your provider immediately

(208) 262-0945


Most insurance carriers cover a routine colonoscopy. For more answers about whether your carrier will cover your colonoscopy please call us at (208) 262-0945 and a member of our team will work with you to help explain your benefits.

(208) 262-0945

Our Specialists

Our surgeons are board-certified, fellowship-trained experts in their field, published authors, and key thought leaders. They are the forefront of the latest research and treatment approaches in order to provide our patients with the very best surgical care possible.

Derek Dirks


John Pennings


Cory Richardson



There are several diagnostic options available. Please talk to your primary care provider about which option is best for you.

A colonoscopy (koe-lun-OS-kuh-pee) is an exam used to detect changes or abnormalities in the large intestine (colon) and rectum. During a colonoscopy, a long, flexible tube (colonoscope) is inserted into the rectum. A tiny video camera at the tip of the tube allows the doctor to view the inside of the entire colon. If necessary, polyps or other types of abnormal tissue can be removed through the scope during a colonoscopy. Tissue samples (biopsies) can be taken during a colonoscopy as well.

Cologuard is intended to screen adults 45 years of age and older who are at average risk for colorectal cancer by detecting certain DNA markers and blood in the stool. Do not use if you have had adenomas, have inflammatory bowel disease and certain hereditary syndromes, or a personal or family history of colorectal cancer. Cologuard is not a replacement for colonoscopy in high-risk patients. Cologuard performance in adults ages 45-49 is estimated based on a large clinical study of patients 50 and older.

(208) 262-0945

Learn More About Your Risk