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Pathology as a medical specialty: Wikis


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Pathologists are physicians who diagnose and characterize disease in living patients by examining biopsies or bodily fluid. The vast majority of cancer diagnoses are made or confirmed by a pathologist. Pathologists may also conduct autopsies to investigate causes of death. Pathology is a core discipline of medical school and many pathologists are also system]]s. Although the medical practice of pathology grew out of the tradition of investigative pathology, most modern pathologists do not perform original research.

Pathology is a unique medical specialty in that pathologists typically do not see patients directly, but rather serve as consultants to other physicians (often referred to as "clinicians" within the pathology community). To be licensed, candidates must complete medical training, an approved residency program and be certified by an appropriate body. In the US, certification is by the American Board of Pathology or the American Osteopathic Board of Pathology. The organization of subspecialties within pathology varies between nations, but usually includes anatomical pathology and clinical pathology.




Pathology in the United States

In the United States, pathologists are physicians that have completed a four-year undergraduate program, four years of medical school training, and three to four years of postgraduate training in the form of a pathology residency. Training may be within two primary specialties, as recognized by the American Board of Pathology: Anatomic Pathology, and Clinical Pathology, each of which requires separate board certification. The American Osteopathic Board of Pathology also recognizes two primary specialties: Anatomic Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. Many pathologists seek a broad-based training and become certified in both fields. These skills are complementary in many hospital-based private practice settings, since the day-to-day work of many clinical laboratories only requires the intermittent attention of a physician. Thus, pathologists are able to spend much of their time evaluating anatomic pathology cases, while remaining available to cover any special issues which might arise in the clinical laboratories. Pathologists may pursue specialised fellowship training within one or more sub-specialties of either anatomic or clinical pathology. Some of these sub-specialities permit additional board certification, while others do not.[1]

Pathology in the United Kingdom

In the UK pathologists are medical doctors registered with - and now licensed by - the UK General Medical Council. They will have completed an undergraduate medical education which lasts 4 to 6 years. UK-trained doctors will have then completed a two-year foundation programme. The training to become a pathologist is under the oversight of the Royal College of Pathologists. Typically a one year training attachment is followed by an aptitude test. This is followed by further specialist training in surgical pathology, cytopathology, and post mortem pathology. There are two examinations run by the Royal College of Pathologists termed Part 1 and Part 2. The Part 2 examination is designed to test competence to work as an independent practitioner in pathology and is typically taken after 5 years specialist training. All post-graduate medical training and education in the UK is overseen by the Postgraduate Medical Education and Training Board. It is planned that this board will merge with the General Medical Council in the near future. It is possible to take a specialist part 2 examination in forensic pathology, paediatric pathology or neuropathology. It is also possible to take a Royal College of Pathologists diploma in forensic pathology, dermatopathology or cytopathology, recognising additional specialist training and expertise.

Pathology in France

In France, Pathology is separate in two distinct specialties, Anatomical pathology and Clinical pathology. Residencies both lasts four years. Anatomical pathology residency is exlusively opened to physicians. On the other hand, Clinical pathology is both opened to physicians and pharmacists. Anatomical pathology in France is integrated in the internal medicine specialty cursus. At the end of the second year of clinical pathology residency, residents can choose between general Clinical pathology and a specialization in one of the disciplines, but they can not exercize Anatomical pathology. And conversely, Anatomical pathology residents can not exercize Clinical pathology [2] [3].

Other subspecialties

[4] 1) Clinical Pathology:
1.1) Biochemistry and Immunology:
1.1.1) Clinical Biochemistry
1.1.2) Analytical Toxicology
1.1.3) Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics
1.1.4) Immunology
1.1.5) Tissue Banking
1.2) Haematology and Transfusion:
1.2.1) Blood Transfusion
1.2.2) Haematology
1.2.3) Haemostasis and Thrombosis
1.3) Microbiology and Infection:
1.3.1) Microbiology and Virology

2) Cellular Pathology:
2.1) Anatomical Pathology
2.2) Cytopathology and Cervical Cytology
2.3) Histopathology

3) Molecular Pathology:
3.1) Embryology:
3.1.1) Embryology and Andrology
3.2) Genetics:
3.2.1) Cytogenetics
3.2.2) Molecular Genetics

See also


  1. ^ Homepage of the American Board of Pathology
  2. ^ Reglementation for French Residency in Clinical Pathology (Biologie médicale)
  3. ^ Curriculum Content of French Resident formation in Clinical Pathology, First Level and Second Level
  4. ^ While researching careers, I attempted to organise and integrate the various categories in Pathology found in the UK ( and and the US (Diagnostic Detectives Toolkit at


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