How does my pathology report contribute to my medical care?

Your pathology report plays is an important role in your medical care and it is especially important if you have been diagnosed with cancer.

Pathological examination of tissue is often requested to:​

  1. Provide an initial diagnosis.
  2. Determine the extent of the disease (what parts of the body are involved with the disease).
  3. Monitor for disease recurrence.
  4. Provide additional information about the disease which may help in treatment planning.​

If you had a biopsy performed, your pathology report may provide the initial diagnosis and your other doctors will use this information to start planning your care. In some instances, this may require referring you to another doctor such as a surgeon or oncologist for more specialized treatment.

If you were diagnosed with cancer after a biopsy, the information provided in your pathology report may determine the medication you receive (for example, the type of chemotherapy) or the type of surgery performed. If you already had a diagnosis and the tissue submitted was a resection specimen, your pathology report will provide information about the specific type of disease present, prognostic and predictive markers, and the need for additional treatment (for example chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or additional surgery).

A variety of specialists including surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, dermatologists, and many others depend on your pathology report to help guide their decisions about your care.

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