Learn how to read and understand your pathology report.

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Pathology education for patients

MyPathologyReport.ca is a freely accessible medical education tool created by doctors to help you read and understand your pathology report. We have created resources that will help you make sense of your diagnosis and the most important information described in your report. Learn more about MyPathologyReport.ca

Your pathology report

Your pathology report is a medical document prepared for you by your pathologist, a specialist medical doctor who works closely with the other doctors in your health care team. If you received a pathology report it means that a tissue sample from your body was sent to the laboratory for examination by a pathologist.

The examination of tissue plays a very important role in your medical care. The information found in your pathology report will help you and your doctor determine the direction of your care.

Types of pathology reports

Types of pathology reports include surgical pathology, cytopathology, hematopathology, neuropathology, and autopsy. The type of pathology report you receive will depend on the kind of tissue sample removed and the procedure used to remove the tissue sample.

  • Surgical pathology – This type of report is used to describe the examination of most tissue samples including those taken from the skin, lungs, colon and breast. Procedures such as biopsies, excisions, and resections are typically described in a surgical pathology report. Learn more about how to read your surgical pathology report.
  • Cytopathology – This type of report is used to describe the results of special procedures such as the Pap test and fine needle aspiration (FNA) biopsies.
  • Hematopathology – This type of report is used to describe the examination of samples from the blood and bone marrow. Some lymph node tissue samples are also described in a hematopathology report. Learn more about how to read your bone marrow biopsy report.
  • Neuropathology – This type of report is used to describe the examination of samples from the nervous system including the brain and spinal cord. Some muscle and nerve tissue samples are also described in a neuropathology report.
  • Autopsy – This type of report is used to describe the examination of a person who has died. Typically, this examination is performed to determine the cause of death. This type of examination is also called a post-mortem examination.

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