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There are teams of medical staff and scientists whose job it is to study samples from a person’s body to understand what’s making them unwell.
Surgical Pathology is the most significant and time consuming branch of pathology with a primary focus on examining tissues with the naked eye or under a microscope for definitive diagnosis of disease. Surgically removed specimens are received from sources such as small biopsies of skin, core biopsies for the diagnosis of cancer, and the operating room where tumours are removed. Surgical pathology involves macroscopic (gross) and microscopic (histologic) tissue analysis where the molecular properties of tissue samples are assessed by immunohistochemistry or other laboratory tests.
Molecular Pathology is a relatively recent discipline that has achieved remarkable progress over the past decade. It emphasizes the study and diagnosis of disease through the examination of molecules within organs, tissues or bodily fluids. Many diseases such as cancer are caused by mutations or alterations in the genetic code of a person, and identification of specific hallmark mutations allows clinicians to classify a disease and choose the appropriate treatment.