REED CITY\u00a0- When thinking about breast cancer, many don't picture a young woman entering her prime years. However, one local woman was diagnosed at just 29 years old. Madeline Dunn, now 33, found a lump in her breast and was told by physicians she had\u00a0invasive ductal carcinoma, one of the most common forms of breast cancer. "I was shocked, scared and I guess up to that point even with my training and going to school specifically for cancer treatment, I didn't realize people got breast cancer in their 20s," Dunn said. "I was very, very shocked." With no health insurance at the time of diagnoses, she said many individuals stepped up to help with her financial burdens. People raised money for her cause and financial assistance programs offered through Spectrum Health also helped her manage the medical costs.\u00a0Support from family, friends and coworkers helped her get through the initial shock, further testing and finally, the choice to undergo surgery. "I ended up having a double mastectomy," Dunn said. "I had to have a mastectomy for the left breast because I had a couple of MRIs done and they found the cancer had spread throughout the breast. I just decided to do both because I was young and there was a big chance I could have the disease in the other side at some point in my life." In addition to the double mastectomy, she underwent six rounds of chemotherapy. "I'm cancer free now, but it seems like it's a never-ending process," Dunn added. "I take a medication because my cancer was hormone-receptor positive and I have another year and a half to take that. I also have reconstructive surgery coming up." During her period of diagnosis and treatment, she also was in school to become a radiation therapist. Now, she's an employee at the Susan P. Wheatlake Regional Cancer Center in Reed City, doing the work for which she was trained and helping others along their cancer journey,\u00a0though most patients are unaware of her own experience. "I think it helps me with the patients because I can understand what they're going through and I know when I was undergoing treatment I could always tell when people truly cared, were really there for you and loved their jobs," Dunn added. "So I always try to convey that to my patients\u00a0- that I really, really care about them and the journey they're going through. I want them to have the best treatment possible." Being involved in the health industry and seeing the progress of cancer care has given her hope for herself and others for the future when it comes to diagnoses and treatments for breast and other types of cancer. Dunn's current goals are to spread awareness that cancer can occur in younger women and to educate others about performing self exams. "I've done a couple things here at the cancer center about the importance of self breast exams and the nurses here have gone to Ferris State University and some of the elementary schools talking to students about them," she said. "I never did exams because I thought I didn't have to worry about it until I was 50 or 60. I think the awareness isn't out there.\u00a0After I was diagnosed, I saw a lot of stories of people who had breast cancer who were in their 20s, but I don't think you hear about it as much. I don't think people are aware how important it is to do a self breast exam. It's important to watch out for any signs."