May 18
11:53 2017

Pathologists study diseases in the human body.
They research what causes the disease, how it effects the body and how it
continues to develop. Pathologists that can figure out what causes and allows a
disease to live may be able to find cures or ways to prevent that same disease
from existing in the human body. When examining a body, pathologists study the
bodily fluids, organs, tissues, and whole bodies are explored during autopsies.
Pathologists are certified medical doctors that also have a doctoral degree in

Pathologist diagnose living patients by performing diagnostic tests such as
biopsies and blood tests. They often do not directly treat their patients.
Pathologists are commonly used just as references for other doctors. When a
cancer diagnosis is made, a pathologist is usually consulted to confirm the
diagnosis. Since many pathologists do not deal directly with patients, many of
them are employed by laboratories. Pathology is concerned with understanding
the mechanisms of the body, mainly understanding how or why certain organs and
tissues heal the way they do. Some main areas of study under pathology include
cell adaption to injury, premature death of cells (necrosis), inflammation,
wound healing, and neoplasia.

Pathology and Cancer

Some medical experts believe the acknowledgment of a pathologist regarding a
diagnosis is the only way to be 100% accurate when diagnosing a patient.
Pathologists are the only medical doctors with training in the specialty field
of examining and diagnosing cells and tissues under a microscope. A popular
misconception is that doctors without degree in pathology can make a cancer
diagnosis based on imaging tests. While doctors may be right about a diagnosis
most of the time based on imaging tests, they are not qualified to make the
final diagnosis. A wrong diagnosis could cost a patient his/her life. The
pathologist first determines if the cells found in the tissue sample are
malignant or benign. Malignant cells will be classified and the correct stage
of cancer will be relayed back to the patients personal doctor. Second opinions
are important to obtain because studies show even pathologists offer the wrong
diagnosis 2%-4% of the time.

Pathology Types

Pathology can be broken down into two types that together are known as general
pathology. The two types of pathology are anatomical pathology and clinical
pathology. The line between these two types of pathology is fading as new
technology calls for information from both types of pathology to be used in
diagnoses and doctors are practicing both techniques of pathology.

Anatomical Pathology

Anatomical pathology is concerned with the diagnosis of disease through
inspection based on chemical make-up, gross examination, microscopic, and
immunologic and molecular examination of organs and tissues. Anatomical
pathology is divided into two main sub-specialties. They are surgical pathology
and cytopathology

Surgical Pathology is an
effective yet time consuming method of pathology. Surgical pathology is
characterized by the gross, microscopic examination of surgically removed
specimens. Tissues and biopsies may be submitted to surgical pathologists for
further inspection. Inspection of the specimen submitted will allow for the
pathologist to determine what the disease is, why it was caused and what stage
it is in.

Cytopathology refers to the study of
cells. Cytopathologists study specimens submitted to them on a cellular level.
The specimens often are obtained by a fine needle aspirate. Cytopathologists
are capable of diagnosing diseases immediately upon examination of cells from
specimens submitted to them.

Clinical Pathology

Clinical pathology is concerned with diagnosing diseases based on laboratory
results based on bodily fluids and tissues based on chemistry, microbiology,
hematology, and molecular pathology. Clinical pathologists are sought out to
reassure doctors and medical technologists that the diagnosis they made is
correct. Clinical pathology and anatomical pathology have been overlapping in
recent years in similarities in how they study specimens. Pathologists commonly
practice both types of pathology.

The main types of clinical pathology are chemical pathology, hematopathology,
and cytogenetics.

Chemical Pathology is concerned
with the analysis of bodily fluids. Chemical pathologists can use bodily fluids
to examine the immune system, hormones and drugs taken. Chemical pathology
tests can determine if there are elevated level of sodium, potassium, chloride,
calcium, iron, glucose, and many other chemicals found in bodily fluids.

Hematopathology is the study of
disease in blood cells. Many disease originate in bone marrow and travel in the
cells of a patient’s blood. Diseases such as low blood count (anemia) and blood
increases (leukemia) are studied in hematopathology.

Cytogenetic pathology studies the
structure and cells, mainly chromosomes. Chromosome cells can be studied under
a microscope. Diseases that can be easily attributed to problems found in the
chromosomes are Down’s syndrome, sex chromosome shortage (Turner Syndrome), and
chronic myelogenous leukemia.

play an important role in assuring the correct diagnosis is made for ill
patients. Often times the pathologist is the first to make a diagnosis. Correct
diagnoses allow for the proper treatment plan to be implemented and carried
out. The expertise on display by pathologists is evident by their quick and
accurate methods of diagnosing diseases and figuring out what causes certain
diseases. With knowledge of a disease comes the increased chances of curing or
preventing that disease.

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