What is pathology?

Pathology is a branch of science that focuses on disease — how it develops, is diagnosed, and treated. So because it’s a science that studies medicine, it plays a key role in everything from patient care to testing to treatments to prevention and beyond.

All of our pathologists are boarded in anatomic and clinical pathology, and have fellowship training and/or subspecialty boards. As a group, they have expertise in oncology, neuropathology, hematopathology, cytopathology, dermatopathology, and gastrointestinal and hepatopancreatic biliary pathology, with additional extensive experience in breast, gynecologic urologic, soft tissue and pulmonary pathology.

And our Pathology department is accredited by the College of American Pathologists, which means we have met their criteria for excellence and continue to maintain the highest standards through on-site inspections and peer-based reviews.

Pathology and Cancer

Pathology plays an essential role in cancer diagnosis. A pathologist will examine tissues and cells under a microscope to determine if cells are benign (not cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). If cancerous, a pathology report will identify the type of cancer present along with its grade and stage. Pathology is also used to determine if cancer has spread. The pathology report is shared with your multidisciplinary care team, who will evaluate treatment options and determine the best course of treatment for you.

What are the Different Types of Pathology?

Anatomic pathology

Studies the effect of diseases on the structure of body organs, both broadly and microscopically. That’s why an anatomic pathologist will evaluate tissue specimens like cervical scrapings (in PAP smears, for example), biopsies, and surgical resections to help identify and manage various tumors or cancers. Additionally, all tissue removed during surgery must be reviewed by an anatomic pathologist, who also does whole-body evaluations during autopsy.

Clinical pathology

Analyzes bodily fluids such as blood and urine for indicators of heart disease, liver malfunction, metabolic disorders, and tumors. Using chemistry, microbiology, hematology, and molecular pathology, a clinical pathologist can also confirm laboratory findings and diagnoses for patients and physicians.