Anatomical pathology (''Commonwealth'') or anatomic
pathology (''United States'') is a medical specialty that is concerned
with the diagnosis of disease based on the gross, microscopic, chemical,
immunologic and molecular examination of organs, tissues, and whole
Anatomical pathology is itself divided in subspecialties,
the main ones being surgical pathology, cytopathology, and forensic
To be licensed to practice pathology, one has to complete
medical school and secure a license to practice medicine. An approved
residency program and certification (in the United States, the American
Board of Pathology or the American Osteopathic Board of Pathology) is
usually required to obtain employment or hospital privileges.
Anatomical pathology is one of two branches of pathology,
the other being clinical pathology, the diagnosis of disease through the
laboratory analysis of bodily fluids and tissues.
practice both anatomical and clinical pathology, a combination known as
The distinction between anatomic and clinical
pathology is increasingly blurred by the introduction of technologies
that require new expertise and the need to provide patients and
referring physicians with integrated diagnostic reports. Similar
specialties exist in veterinary pathology.
is a medical specialty that is concerned with the diagnosis of disease
based on the laboratory analysis of bodily fluids such as blood and
urine, and tissues using the tools of chemistry, microbiology,
and molecular pathology. Clinical pathologists work in close
collaboration with medical technologists hospital administrations and
referring physicians to ensure the accuracy and optimal utilization of
Clinical pathology is one of the two major divisions of
pathology, the other being anatomical pathology. Often, pathologists
practice both anatomical and clinical pathology, a combination sometimes
known as general pathology.
Dermatopathology is a subspecialty of anatomic pathology
that focuses on the skin as an organ. It is unique in that there are
two routes which a physician can use to obtain this specialization.
general pathologists and general dermatologists are trained in the
pathology of the skin; however, the dermatopathologist is a specialist
in this organ. In the USA, either a general pathologist or a
dermatologist can undergo a 1 to 2 year fellowship in the field of
dermatopathology. The completion of this fellowship allows one to take a
subspecialty board examination, and becomes a board certified
Forensic pathology is a branch of pathology concerned with
determining the cause of death by examination of a cadaver. The autopsy
is performed by the pathologist at the request of a coroner usually
during the investigation of criminal law cases and civil law cases in
some jurisdictions. Forensic pathologists are also frequently asked to
confirm the identity of a cadaver.
The word ''forensics'' is derived from the Latin
''forēnsis'' meaning ''forum''.
Molecular pathology is an emerging discipline within
pathology, and focuses in the study and diagnosis of disease through the
examination of molecules within organs, tissues or bodily fluids.
Molecular pathology shares some aspects of practice with
pathology and clinical pathology, molecular biology, biochemistry,
proteomics and genetics, and is sometimes considered a "crossover"
discipline. It is multi-disciplinary in nature and focuses mainly on the
sub-microscopic aspects of disease and unknown illnesses with strange
It is a scientific discipline that encompasses the
development of molecular and genetic approaches to the diagnosis and
classification of human tumors, the design and validation of predictive
biomarkers for treatment response and disease progression, the
susceptibility of individuals of different genetic constitution to
develop cancer, and the environmental and lifestyle factors implicated
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