What is Pathology?

Medicine, behind-the-scenes

Pathology is a medical specialty that examines how cells, tissues and organs respond to different stimuli, with an emphasis on understanding:

  • inflammation
  • new or abnormal tissue growth
  • fluid and hemodynamic derangements like edema, embolism and shock

Pathology draws from the basic sciences of anatomy, developmental and cancer biology, cell physiology, human genetics, immunology, neurobiology, and virology to inform the various branches of clinical medicine.

In the simplest terms, pathology provides the scientific basis for clinical medicine and the clinical purpose for research in the basic sciences.

As a discipline, pathology also makes use of a number of technologies for diagnostic purposes, including microscopy, histology, high-throughput flow cytometry and chemical assays and, more recently, molecular diagnostic approaches including DNA and RNA sequencing.

What does a pathologist do?

Typically, pathologists are busy behind the scenes, studying body fluids and tissues and providing the information your doctor needs to make accurate diagnoses, monitor the progression of existing medical conditions and provide the best patient care possible. 

Pathologists are involved in research and diagnosis of a broad range of diseases and disorders.

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