Pathology dictionary

Synoptic report

What is a synoptic report?

The synoptic report section of your pathology report is a summary of the most important pathologic features of your case. A synoptic report is a special section that will only be included in your pathology report if you were diagnosed with cancer.

In most cases, a synoptic report section is only included in your pathology report after most or all of the tumour has been removed from your body. For that reason, a synoptic report section is usually not included in reports for small procedures such as biopsies.

The synoptic report section typically includes the following types of information:

  • The name and type of cancer found in the tissue sample.
  • The location of the tumour.
  • The size of the tumour.
  • The tumour grade.
  • Margin status.
  • A description of cancer cells in a lymph node or at a distant body site (metastatic disease).
  • The pathological stage of the disease (pTNM).
  • The results of any immunohistochemical or molecular studies that may have been performed.

You may find some of the same information in the diagnosis section of your report. For example, the name of the cancer, size of the tumour, and margin status may be found in both sections. However, some pathologists may only provide the name of the diagnosis in the diagnosis section and leave all of the important details for the synoptic report section of your pathology report.

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