After cancer diagnosis, what comes next?

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- One minute, Dr. Bernadine Healy was a perfectly healthy woman, in bed with her husband watching the Oscar De La Hoya fight on HBO. A few hours later, she was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor.

Sen. Edward Kennedy, with his wife, Vicki, learned he
has a malignant brain tumor.

"It's horrible, it's shocking," Healy says of her diagnosis nine years ago. "It takes awhile to digest what's happening."

Once over the initial shock, Healy, former director of the National Institutes of Health, went to work, combing the latest literature and talking to experts about the best treatments.

In the United States this year, 1.4 million people will learn they have cancer, as Sen. Edward Kennedy did this week. Most of them don't have Healy's expertise, nor do they have her contacts with renowned physicians. So here's a guide for where to go in the days and weeks following a cancer diagnosis:

Consider What's Important, Not Just What's Urgent


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