What does a pathologist do?


Quick Answer

The main focus of a pathologist is to review and evaluate bodily fluids and specimens to detect substances or chemicals in the body. This work can be used to determine a diagnosis or to see if additional testing is needed to make a diagnosis.

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Full Answer

Examples of bodily fluids and specimens that a pathologist can review on a daily basis include blood, semen, urine, feces, spinal fluid, bone marrow and abdominal fluids. A pathologist is a physician who has undergone specialized training and focuses solely on work performed in a laboratory. They may work with other physicians to diagnose patients, or they may choose to work in research settings. Pathologists can be employed by hospitals, large medical practices or own their own business performing tests for medical service providers.

There are also specialties within the field of pathology that a physician can choose from. Forensic pathologists are responsible for performing autopsies and tests for the legal system. Cytopathologists study everything that is related to cells. Molecular pathologists study genetics as well as DNA and RNA sequences, and anatomic pathologists are responsible for studying tumors, organs and body tissues. Each of these specialties requires additional training, possibly by completing a fellowship program.

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