Understanding a Pathology Report

Source: People Living With Cancer

All cancers are diagnosed by providing a sample of a patient's tumor to a specialized medical doctor called a pathologist. The pathologist microscopically examines the sample, or biopsy, and provides a written report to the oncologist or treating doctor. The pathologist provides a disease diagnosis, and this information forms the basis of cancer treatment.

Despite the complex medical language used in the pathology reports, the reports can be understood with help from the oncologist. A person is entitled by law to a copy of his or her pathology report, and this copy can be used when seeking a second opinion to develop treatment options. Ultimately, treatment of a patient's cancer depends on what he or she and the oncologist feel is the best interpretation of the pathology report.

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