What is Pathology?
Pathology is a medical specialty that focuses on determining the cause and nature of diseases by analysing and testing body tissue and fluids. It is vital for the detection and treatment of most medical conditions, from cancer, diabetes and heart disease, to infections, allergies and infertility.
The main branches of Pathology are clinical pathology, anatomical pathology or a combination of the two, referred to as general pathology.
General pathology :
General Pathology describes the study of disease that is causing abnormal changes in the structure or function of body parts. The causes, mechanisms and extent of disease may be examined. The resulting changes in the structure or function of a body part and significance of the disease is also considered.
Anatomical Pathology :
This branch of Pathology involves the study and diagnosis of disease based on the examination after surgically removing any body specimens or used for autopsy
Clinical pathology :
This branch concerns the laboratory analysis of blood, urine and tissue samples to examine and diagnose disease. Typically, laboratories will process samples and provide results concerning blood counts, blood clotting ability or urine electrolytes.
Why is Pathology important?
Pathology services are the heart of health care services provided to patients and the community.
Help in accurate diagnosis and treatment of their patients.
Evaluate the working of the treatment or any unnecessary side-effects
Pathology investigations are an integral part of the clinical consultation and procedural process. Overseas studies indicate that 70-80 per cent of all health care decisions involve a pathology investigation for diagnosis and treatment.
In the general practice setting, the BEACH Study of General Practice Activity of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) reports that pathology testing is ordered at one in every five patient visits.
The BEACH study also indicates that, in the Australian primary care setting, 40% of pathology testing is used for diagnostic purposes, 40% for monitoring and 20% for preventative purposes.