Biopsies are fundamental to diagnosing cancer and monitoring results of its treatment. Patients awaiting the outcome of a cancer biopsy face having an enormous weight being put on – or lifted from – their shoulders.
Whether it’s a lump or a mass where there shouldn’t be, a shadow on an X-ray or scan, or an unusual-looking mole, polyp or lesion, any suspicion of cancer is unsettling.
I have never met them, nor have I ever thanked them for their part in my survival. And yet so much of that day and my treatment in the following months depended on their expertise.
Throughout our lives, most of us will undergo a variety of medical tests to help identify and treat various ailments and diseases. These exams will probably include a pathology test, which is used to study the cause and progression of a disease.
Dr. Neppalli’s challenge: to help doctors from other countries find ways to deliver fast, accurate diagnoses using the materials and facilities they have back at their home centers.
Pathologists are key partners of the medical team whose investigations and findings are essential to successful surgical and treatment plans for cancer patients.
In addition to treating melanoma and sarcoma patients at Roswell Park, Joseph Skitzki, MD, FACS, spent the last few years developing a high-powered, first-of-its-kind microscope for use in the operating room. In February 2016, following a short study of the microscope’s functionality, Dr. Skitzki's research team revealed its stunning findings.
Solving a puzzle is a meticulous task, requiring concentration, logic and, at times, a certain degree of teamwork. Dermatopathologists solve puzzles each day and must excel in these areas, studying biopsies and providing precise diagnoses for patients.
Hearing “you have cancer” usually triggers a range of emotions in people that may include anxiety, sadness, anger, fear, confusion and a sense of urgency to have the cancer treated as soon as possible.
A cancer diagnosis starts with a biopsy - the process of taking suspicious tissue or fluid and studying it under a microscope. A pathologist examines the tissue or fluid and prepares a pathology report. Think of this report as a cancer profile.