Pathology is the study of diseases, the mechanism by which diseases affect people, and the structural and functional changes brought on by these diseases on the human body, and the laboratory examination of samples of body tissue for diagnostic or forensic purposes.
The word pathology derives it's name from pathos which means suffering, experience or disease and logia which means discourse, or study.
Pathology, as a way to study the human body, to understand the disease process has been around for a long time.
Pathology is a broad field that encompases many different branches or fields of study including the following:
- General pathology
- Autopsy and forensic pathology
- Anatomical pathology
- Pulmonary pathology
- Renal pathology
- Surgical pathology
- Clinical pathology
- Molecular pathology
- Cancer pathology
- Chromosome Pathology
- Oral pathology and maxillofacial pathology
Medical education in pathology
Pathologists are physicians trained in the field of pathology. In the United States, pathologists have to first complete a 4 year medical school followed by a residency in either anatomical pathology, or clinical pathology which is an additional 3-4 years. Pathologists can choose to get additional specialty training in any of the pathological areas of interest which requires additional training.
Role of Pathologists
Pathologists are medical doctors who specialize in diagnosing and classifying diseases by studying cells and tissue samples, and by performing lab tests. They collaborate with other physicians, contributing to patient care by providing vital information used to predict the course of a disease and its response to treatment.
Various techniques are employed in the field of pathology, including:
- Biopsy: A small sample of tissue is removed from the patient for examination.
- Autopsy: The examination of a deceased individual to determine the cause and manner of death.
- Cytopathology: The study of individual cells to diagnose disease.
- Hematopathology: The study of diseases that affect blood cells and blood-forming organs.
- Molecular pathology: The study of disease at a molecular level to diagnose and monitor disease.
- Kumar, Vinay; Abbas, Abul K.; Fausto, Nelson; & Mitchell, Richard N. (2007). Robbins Basic Pathology (8th ed.). Saunders Elsevier.
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