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How To Read A Pathology Report

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A pathology report is a medical document that is used by doctors to help diagnose diseases. As a patient, it can help lower your anxiety and give you a better picture of what is going on if you are able to understand it. A pathology report is developed by a pathologist who uses lab tests and evaluations to determine a diagnosis. A pathology report takes a few days to develop and is delivered to your medical team. From there, they determine the best breast cancer treatment South Jersey options. Here is how to interpret a pathology report.

What Are The Different Parts Of A Pathology Report?
Breast CancerThere are a few sections to a pathology report that you will always see regardless of the pathologist writing it. The first section always goes over general information. The information in this first section talks about the patient’s personal information, oncologist’s contact information, pathologist’s contact information, lab information, and much more. The first section could be looked at as an abstract of the overall report. The second section discusses the tissue sample. The details of the tissue sample include color, weight, size, and a visual.

The third section is the most in-depth analysis of the specimen. This section describes the view of the area in question while being under a microscope. There are several technical factors that are discussed in this section. Cancer’s ability to spread is discussed heavily and categorized as noninvasive or invasive. The grade of the cancer cells is discussed in comparison to healthy cells. Generally, pathologists look for changes in shape, size, and color. If the cancer cells are able to spread, the pathologist will note the actual rate of spreading based on how quickly the cells divide. Tumor margin is discussed, which details if cancer cells are still present in the body after removal of the tumor. Lastly, the condition of the lymph nodes is discussed which touches on the stage of cancer that is being diagnosed.

The fourth section is where the final diagnosis is found. This section will draw conclusions and points from other sections to come up with a final diagnosis. This section will reiterate a lot of points brought up in the third section, but put tangible values on them. If other tests were performed that are outside the scope of a typical pathology report, those results will be discussed here pertaining to the diagnosis.

The last section is the summary report and appendix. The summary report lists out the key takeaways for health care professionals to focus on when designing a treatment plan. The appendix will show visuals of the various tests labeled by figures. You may see “refer to figures in the appendix” as you go through the report. This helps keep visuals and technical wording organized. If you ever have any questions or concerns about your pathology report, be sure to raise them with your medical team. They will be happy to help you!

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