More women opt to have both breasts removed

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When Cheryl Lawrence got a diagnosis of breast cancer, her surgeon told her she could save her breast. But Lawrence decided to have it removed anyway. And then she decided to have the healthy one removed, too.

"I didn't want to ever have to deal with this again," said Lawrence, 40, of Olympia, Wash. "I just didn't want to have to worry about it. For me, it was a matter of peace of mind."

Lawrence is not alone: The proportion of breast cancer patients who are opting for double mastectomies when far less radical surgery would suffice has increased sharply, a trend that disturbs some experts. They say too many women may be taking the drastic step in the panic that often follows a cancer diagnosis, or with the mistaken belief that more aggressive surgery will improve their survival odds.

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