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The Mike Tilley Nation Foundation

We hope to advocate for more people under the age of 45 to get screened for colorectal cancer, and to provide more awareness of the symptoms of young-onset colorectal cancer.

Have you been screened for colorectal cancer lately?

The Mike Tilley Nation Foundation is a 501(c)(3) Organization.

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1st Annual Golf Tournament

August 23, 2024 at Overlook Golf Course in Lancaster, PA

The Mike Tilley Nation Foundation will be hosting our 1st Annual Golf Tournament on August 23, 2024, at Overlook Golf Course in Lancaster, PA at 1:00 p.m.! 

Tickets include a luncheon before the start of the tournament, and a happy hour gathering after. The scramble format tournament will include awards such as men's and women's longest drive, men's and women's closest to the pin, team prizes, and raffle prizes!

Click here to register:

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Statistics For Young Adults Are Changing

For the first time colorectal cancer is now the leading cause of cancer death in young men.


Published in the WSJ in 2024:

Colorectal cancer is now first-leading cause of cancer death in men younger than 50 years, and second in women younger than 50.

It was the fourth-leading cause of cancer death in both men and women younger than 50 years in the late-1990s.

Even as overall cancer deaths continue to fall in the U.S., the American Cancer Society is reporting for the first time that colon and rectal cancers have become leading causes of cancer death in younger adults.

The Mike Tilley Nation Foundation hopes to change this trend.

Our goal is to raise awareness of Young Onset Colorectal Cancer, promote self-advocacy, and support early screening for colorectal cancer. 

Check in with yourself, and your friends and family so that they know what symptoms of colorectal cancer to look out for. 

Remember that you are your best advocate.

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"What we suspect may be happening is that whatever combination of environmental factors is responsible for this, that it’s likely changing our microbiomes or our immune systems, leading us to become more susceptible to these cancers at a younger age." 

Dr. Kimmie Ng, the director of the Young Onset Colorectal Cancer Center at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston

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Our Story

It was the Spring of 2021 and Michael Tilley was working in Philadelpreparing for his June wedding. After months of enduring symptoms and being told to make diet and lifestyle changes, Michael Tilley was finally referred for a colonoscopy in July 2021.

The discovery of a softball-sized tumor in his colon led to a Colon Cancer diagnosis at the age of 30. Just 3 months later, his cancer had metastasized to the liver. Unfortunately, Michael passed away at the age of 31 on August 29, 2022.

A 2019 study showed that of 1,200 colon cancer patients younger than 50, 67% waited three months to a year to see a doctor for their symptoms. And then they usually had to see at least two doctors before getting the correct diagnosis.

Doctors do not know why cancer, especially colorectal cancer, is becoming more common in younger adults. Some hypothesize that increasing obesity rates, sedentary behavior and unhealthy diets could be playing roles.

"But honestly, the patients we're seeing in clinic often do not fit that profile," said Dr. Kimmie Ng, the director of the Young Onset Colorectal Cancer Center at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. "A lot of them are triathletes and marathon runners. I mean, super healthy people."

Founded in 2022, The Mike Tilley Nation Foundation's core mission is to raise awareness of Young Onset Colorectal Cancer and educate young adults on the symptoms and treatment of Colon Cancer.

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Our Mission

At The Mike Tilley Nation Foundation, we feel passionate about our mission to fight and help prevent Young Onset Colorectal Cancer. We believe that with advocacy we can make strides to help people catch this cancer early and improve treatment options.

"How I will beat this cancer is making sure that none of my friends and family get diagnosed with colon cancer. And that's the thing that's most important to me."

-Michael Tilley


Raise Awareness

The main cause here at Mike Tilley Nation Foundation is raising awareness of Colorectal Cancer, particularly in young adults.

Colorectal Cancer used to be very uncommon in young adults, but rates of young-onset colorectal cancer have been rising since the mid-1990s. There was a 51% increase in cases of colorectal cancer in people aged 20-49 from 1994 to 2012. Potentially due to lack of awareness, patients under 50 years of age are 58% more likely than older patients to be diagnosed with a more advanced cancer (Stage III or Stage IV).

Know The Symptoms

Knowing the symptoms of colorectal cancer and understanding your risks of developing it may prevent this cancer from happening to you. Or it could help you or someone you know receive a diagnosis as early as possible so there are the most amount of treatment options. 

Tell a doctor if you experience any of the following:

-Bowel movement changes over a couple of weeks (especially if experiencing constipation)

-Unexplained weight loss

-Abdominal pain

-Rectal bleeding / blood in the stool.


Get Screened

One of our goals is to help more people get screened for Colorectal Cancer. Many young adults are being overlooked because screening doesn’t typically begin until age 45, but that is only if you are of average risk and have zero symptoms.

However, if you are presenting symptoms, communicate that with your doctor and advocate for yourself to get screened. Historically it has not been easy for young patients to get approved for a coloscopy, but by advocating for yourself and communicating with the right doctor about your symptoms could save your life. 67% of young-onset colorectal cancer patients said they saw at least 2 physicians before receiving a diagnosis.

Click below to find out other screening methods.

Remove The Age Requirement

Building on our goal of getting more people screened for Colorectal Cancer, we feel that based on the latest data 45 years old is too late to start screening for Colorectal Cancer. This is why we are advocating to lower or remove the screening age requirement. Getting a colonoscopy to be covered by insurance should be based on symptoms, not age. 

If you have a family history of colon cancer where your relative was diagnosed before the age of 55, then you have access to early colon cancer screenings!

Typically screenings start 10 years before the age that your relative was when diagnosed. (Ex: If they were 45 at diagnosis, you would be eligible to start cancer screenings at 35.)

​We love to support other Colorectal Cancer charity organizations including:

The Trey Mancini Foundation

Fight Colorectal Cancer

The Colorectal Cancer Alliance

Colon Cancer Coalition

Colon Cancer Foundation


Contact us if you know of an organization we should partner with or if you’d like more information on how to donate or volunteer.

We can all make a change for the better.

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What If I Have Symptoms?

Take Action Today!


#1: Set up an appointment with a Gastroenterologist

Research GI doctors in your area to find one that is well-reviewed and also takes your insurance (not always an easy task).

If you are 45 or older, ask for a colonoscopy- because of your age you are eligible for the best colon cancer screening method there is- and on top of that, insurance will cover it completely!

Click Below To Find One With ZocDoc:

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#2. Order an At Home Test

A Fecal Immunochemical Test, or FIT, tests for blood in the stool that cannot be seen with the naked eye. Many local labs have these tests available, but there are also home test kits now available.

Click Below to order a free FIT test:


#3: Get Bloodwork Done

#1. CEA

A CEA (carcinoembryonic antigen) test measures a specific protein called CEA, which is a protein with a lot of sugars added to it by normal or cancerous cells. Everyone is born with high levels of this protein. CEA decreases as you get older, but some conditions, including certain types of cancer, can increase your blood CEA levels.

Healthy cells also may make tumor markers in very low levels, so a high CEA level doesn't necessarily mean cancer, but an elevated level would be a reason to reach out to a doctor.

#2. Iron

Iron deficiency anemia is common in colorectal cancer patients, and is often one of the first symptoms noticed by patients. Low iron also doesn't necessarily mean cancer, but having low levels of iron would be another good reason to reach out to a doctor.


#4: Get a blood-based cancer test

Cancer screening is a proven way to detect cancer early, when it’s most treatable. Luckily there is blood-based screening test, Shield, which offers a simple blood draw that can screen for cancer at its earliest stage. This test detects colorectal cancer by identifying circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) in the blood.

You can request one online, but you will have to have a doctor order it for you. The cost today is $895, but it might be covered by insurance soon.

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Lewisberry, Pennsylvania

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