to diagnose all types of diseases and disorders by studying tissue, blood or fluid samples from patients, allowing for more precise diagnoses and earlier, potentially life-saving interventions.
Pathology is a field of medicine comprising the study and diagnosis of disease, including any underlying causes. Pathologists are trained to identify and track changes and malformations in tissues, organs, blood and other bodily fluids with regard to disease. By studying these changes, pathologists are able to diagnose diseases or identify the predisposition of a patient as being susceptible to disease in the future.
Although some pathologists may meet with patients during a examinations or provide care, many of these physicians work behind the scenes in medical laboratories analyzing samples that are sent to them by other specialists or practitioners. Pathologists play a vital role in the provision of health care, providing diagnoses to physicians when they are unsure of, or unable to arrive at, a diagnosis.
Pathology is divided into two main subspecialties, clinical pathology and anatomic pathology. In clinical pathology, the physician studies bodily fluids, such as urine and blood, to diagnose and study a variety of diseases. The pathologist may study these bodily fluids to document the progression or regression of a disease, which can be of great use in other specialties. Anatomic pathologists examine tissues and growth samples to diagnose and study disease. For example, when a physician takes a biopsy, it will often be examined by an anatomic pathologist.