You're Not Getting Older; Colonoscopies are Getting Younger

Stay current on your preventive screenings, especially colonoscopies.

Preventive health is like preventive maintenance on a car: you don’t wait for the check engine light to take care of it. Just as you should take your car in for routine oil changes, tire rotations, and other maintenance, you should routinely visit your doctor who can keep you healthy now and identify any potential future problems.

Colon Cancer Tests

One major piece of preventive health is regular screenings. Recently, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has recommended reducing the age for an initial colorectal cancer screening from 50 to 45, for both men and women. This recommendation includes two tests: colonoscopies, which involve physically inspecting the colon, and stool-based tests.

“Starting routine colon cancer screenings five years earlier could prevent more deaths from colorectal cancer, which is the third-leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States,” said Jonathan Godfrey, MD, a gastroenterologist at Portneuf Gastroenterology.

The recent death of 43-year-old Black Panther star, Chadwick Boseman, was a shock to the world. It shed light on how dangerous colorectal cancer can be. According to the American Cancer Society, from 2012-2016, the diagnosis rate for colorectal cancer increased by 2% every year for people younger than 50 years old.

“We’ve seen an increasing incidence of colorectal cancer in younger age groups. Thankfully, it is a highly preventable form of cancer through screening. Screening, with a colonoscopy, can prevent cancer through the detection and removal of pre-cancerous growths known as polyps. It is highly recommended and strongly encouraged to get a colonoscopy,” said Jacob Wendling, DO, gastroenterologist at Portneuf Gastroenterology.

Risk Factors

A few lifestyle-related risk factors that have been linked to colorectal cancer include:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Not being physically active
  • Diets high in red meats and processed meats
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol use

There are also risk factors for colorectal cancer that you can’t change. These include age, family history, and ethnic background. Ultimately, colorectal cancer screenings are the most powerful tool for preventing colorectal cancer.

To schedule a colonoscopy, or to learn more about gastrointestinal services at Portneuf, visit our web page or call 208-232-6616.

To view a full list of preventive health screenings, visit