Pathology is a branch of medical science that involves the study and diagnosis of disease through the examination of surgically removed organs, tissues (biopsy samples), bodily fluids, and in some cases the whole body (autopsy). Aspects of a bodily specimen that may be considered include its gross anatomical make up, appearance of the cells using immunological markers and chemical signatures in the cells. Pathology also includes the related scientific study of disease processes whereby the causes, mechanisms and extent of disease are examined. Areas of study include cellular adaptation to injury, necrosis (death of living cells or tissues), inflammation, wound healing, and neoplasia (abnormal new growth of cells). Pathologists specialize in a wide range of diseases including cancer and the vast majority of cancer diagnoses are made by pathologists. The cellular pattern of tissue samples are observed under a microscope to help determine if a sample is cancerous or non-cancerous (benign). Pathologists also employ genetic studies and gene markers in the assessment of various diseases.

Surgical pathology

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.


Cytopathology is a branch of pathology that studies and diagnoses diseases on the cellular level. It is usually used to aid in the diagnosis of cancer, but also helps in the diagnosis of certain infectious diseases and other inflammatory conditions. Cytopathology is generally used on samples of free cells or tissue fragments that spontaneously exfoliate or are removed from tissues by abrasion or fine needle aspiration, in contrast to histopathology, which studies whole tissues.

Molecular pathology

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. As a result, molecular analysis is leading the way towards personalized medicine by allowing us to predict a patient’s response to certain anti-cancer therapy based on their own genetic make-up. Molecular Pathology includes the development of molecular and genetic approaches to the diagnosis and classification of human tumours and also to design and validate predictive biomarkers for prognosis of the disease, and susceptibility of developing certain cancers in individuals. The high levels of sensitivity provided by molecular assays allows for the detection of very small tumours that are otherwise undetectable by other means, and will likely result in earlier diagnosis, improved patient care and better outcomes for survival.

Various pathology tests:

‘’All the test of Pathology are done here’’

Pathology tests are meant to determine if there is a specific disease or combination of diseases. They differ based on a few diseases and specific criteria for diagnosis. When you get asked by your doctor which test is required for your condition, you will know the difference in pathology testing.

These criteria can be found in other medical conditions as well. Unlike lab tests, pathology tests are typically carried out at pathology laboratories, and doctors often have no idea what the results mean. Pathologies have to be diagnosed and the results interpreted first before one expects the final results of such an audiovisual testing program.

There are many ways to diagnose a medical condition. The test that is used depends on what we are looking for and how serious the condition is. There are many different types of pathology tests, but they all fall into one of three categories:

  • 1. Blood, urine, and saliva tests (known as “serum” tests)
  • 2. Imaging scans (such as X-rays and ultrasounds)
  • 3. Biopsy samples (tissue samples taken from inside the body)

There are two ways to help diagnose more medical conditions.

  • 1. Physical exam and a complete medical history, which can be found in most doctor’s offices. Not all doctors offer this type of diagnostic procedure, so it is up to the patient to find one they do.

  • 2. Clinical tests: A clinical test checks blood, urine, or other body fluids for changes in levels of certain chemicals or vitamins, which can indicate disease processes. This type of test requires many hours of work by technicians and can often seem pointless unless the results indicate a significant change in health status.

Why are these tests necessary?

Pathology tests are a big part of healthcare. These tests are essential, from spotting cancerous cells to determining a patient’s muscle stiffness. As you have seen, there are many different types of pathology tests. Still, the most basic types focus on removing stains for different cell types, organs, and tissues in their respective exam rooms. 4 reasons why you need a pathology test are:

  • 1. Identifies likely health risks: A pathology test can help you determine your risk of developing a specific disease in the future by checking the levels of certain proteins and antibodies in your blood. For example, if you’re worried about heart disease, a cholesterol test is an excellent place to start.
  • 2. Screening for disease: Some pathology tests are used as part of a screening process. For example, if you’re over 40 years old and haven’t had a pap smear before, your doctor might recommend one, so they can check for signs of cervical cancer or other conditions that could cause problems later on.
  • 3. Diagnosing the correct disease: An accurate diagnosis is vital if you have symptoms that point towards a specific condition or disease. This will help your doctor decide what treatment options are best suited to you and whether any further investigations are needed.
  • 4. Monitoring a condition or treatment: Some pathology tests aim to find out how well treatments are working or whether you’ve experienced any changes in your health. For instance, if you have diabetes, you may need regular blood tests to determine how well your glucose levels (blood sugar) are functioning.