Pathology is the branch of medicine that deals with understanding the essential nature of disease, its causes, processes and effects.
Pathology involves looking at changes in the tissues of the body, in blood and other body fluids. Some of these changes show the causes, while others reflect the severity of the disease and are used to follow the effects of treatment.
Pathologists are specialist doctors working in the field of pathology. They carry out and analyse tests performed on various tissues of the body, blood and body secretions taken at surgery or as part of a medical examination, in order to understand what is causing an illness. They interpret and report clinically meaningful results and provide expert medical opinion through consultation.
Pathology is often seen as a backroom function. However, it is not just about performing tests and producing results in the laboratory. Some pathologists see patients and are involved directly in the delivery of care. They and other pathology service staff are important members of the healthcare team. Information provided by pathology is essential to an increasing majority of significant clinical management decisions. The increasing capacity of pathology findings to direct health care interventions at an individualised level places pathology at the centre of quality and cost effective health care.