As far as a layman is concerned, a pathologist is a person who uses laboratory methods to diagnose and manage human diseases. The functions of a pathologist can be broadly categorised under three major heads namely
Pathologists are required to be well acquainted with fields like molecular genetics, biophysics, biochemistry, pharmacology and microbiology.
In short, we can say that pathologists are required to provide a scientific basis to the medical practices. Pathology is an interesting career option for those who enjoy devoting a lot of their time working behind a lens and are interested in the analytical and technical aspects of medicine. More information about the career prospects available can be found here.
Education Qualifications required
The basic prerequisite is an undergraduate major in any science subject like biology, chemistry and physics. At the same time, practical experience in terms of medical internships is highly appreciated. Thereafter follows a medical school, which for two preliminary years focuses on providing the candidate the basic medical information about diseases and human anatomy.
The latter years focus on specific areas of medical study. Pathology forms a part of the many electives being offered and does not occur as a required subject in most institutes. For concise information about the topic, click here.
Pathologists’ area of expertise involves analysis of deaths and medical conditions in patients with the help of tissue examination. They are majorly required to work in laboratories working with different concepts of cytology, pathology and the likes. Their findings are crucial in deciding the course of treatment suitable for a patient.
The increased awareness regarding medical conditions and emphasis for improvement has lead to a boon in the industry creating new avenues of employment. Therefore, the number of job opportunities is on the rise with satisfactory salary and packages.
Oncology and Pathology
Cancer research is gaining importance in the recent past. Pathologists play a very important role in the diagnosis and management of cancer. A pathologist discovers everything from what is the nature of the tumour to what stage the cancer has reached and depending upon his research, effective treatments are suggested that could be of help.
The pathologist’s examination therefore assumes a lot of importance when it comes to detecting the nature of cancer, whether it is malignant or benign. The communication between the pathologist and the oncologist makes up for the plan of treatment. The role of the pathologist is handy because it comments on the mitotic rate of cell division. For more detailed information, refer to this article on how to read a pathology report.
A lot of research has been going on to improve the level of pathological research when it comes to dealing with cancer. Pathologists are responsible for determining everything including historical grade, genetic abnormalities and other features of a cancerous tumour.
Other prominent testing methods include cytogenetics and immunohistochemistry. These tests are considered really advanced, as they can predict information about molecular changes of the cell, future course they might take and thereby, predict the best possible treatment.
The importance of an accurate report cannot be undermined which in turns emphasises on the skill set of the pathologist. Therefore, it is crucial for the pathologist to be careful in his/her research.