Hester Hill Schnipper, LICSW, OSW-C Program Manager, Oncology Social Work

MARCH 21, 2017

There is nothing that is more important in cancer care than an accurate pathology report. Everything follows from that; all treatment decisions are first based on that information. One of our pathologists told me years ago that each time she prepares a slide for her microscope, she pauses and offers up a prayer: Help me get this right.

If you have never read your pathology report, you might (or might not) want to do so. There no doubt will be unfamiliar vocabulary, but you will understand much of it--and can ask questions about the rest.

This is a helpful article from CancerNet:

Getting Up Close and Personal With Your Cancer’s Pathology

Kimberley Allen, MD

There’s a member of your health care team who plays a vital role in your diagnosis and cancer care who you may never meet face to face: the pathologist. A pathologist is a doctor who analyzes tissue samples removed during a biopsy or surgery in order to make a diagnosis.
I am a pathologist — and a cancer survivor. When I was diagnosed with cancer, I was terrified. There were so many unknowns and so much uncertainty to deal with. I was 33 years old and had just given birth to my second child. Suddenly, instead of wondering what to pack in my preschooler’s lunch before work, I was wondering how I’d survive to watch her graduate preschool the next year.
While I had no sense of security about my future, I considered myself incredibly lucky. Unlike many new cancer patients, I had the comfort of knowing a lot about my diagnosis and treatment plan. I’m a pathologist specializing in breast cancer diagnosis—and I’d been diagnosed with the very same disease. So the first thing I wanted to know was: “What exactly is the pathology?”

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Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.
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