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Pathology Myths
Facts and figures
25,000 staff
Facts and figures
25,000 staff
£2.5 billion
Facts and figures
25,000 staff
£2.5 billion
4% NHS budget
Facts and figures
Perceptions of pathology
• Patient surveys
• MORI Poll
• Focus groups
• Questionnaire for pathologists
Pathology Myth 1
Pathology is all about dead bodies
Focus group comments
• “It’s the morbid side. How lovely!”
• “I’m a doctor and I don’t want to deal
with people so I’ll deal with dead
people.”
• “It’s quite lonely. You’re left in the
morgue with dead bodies.”
percentage
MORI Poll 2005
death diagnosis
blood
crime
disease genetics
What does a pathologist do?
cancer infection
Pathology facts
Forensic pathology
1%
Other specialties
77%
Pathology Myth 2
Pathology is just one specialty
19 different specialties
19 different specialties
19 different specialties
19 different specialties
Toxicology
19 different specialties
Toxicology
19 different specialties
Toxicology
19 different specialties
Toxicology
19 different specialties
Pathology Myth 3
Pathologists don’t take care of
patients
Focus group comments
• “It’s more of a science. They don’t
want to deal with people, they want to
deal with causes.”
• “You have your consultant there.
You never actually see the
pathologist.”
• “It would be nice if pathologists were
involved in patient care but I’ve never
seen one.”
Pathology facts
• Many pathologists work with patients
in clinics or on the wards
• Even lab-based pathologists usually
spend some time with patients, for
example explaining test results
• The vast majority of all pathologists’
work is done for the benefit of living
patients
Pathology Myth 4
Pathologists work alone in labs
doing tedious repetitive jobs
Focus group comments
• “It’s a boring job. All you’re doing is
testing stuff in a lab all day.”
• “It’s just putting things in a machine
and reading the results, you don’t
have to think about it”
• “You do the same thing all day, every
day”
Pathology facts
• Pathologists are members of multidisciplinary teams and work with
others to care for patients
• Pathologists rarely work in isolation
• Pathology is varied and interesting
with many of the more repetitive jobs
now done by machines
Pathology Myth 5
Pathologists don’t diagnose cancer
Pathology facts
• Almost all cancers are diagnosed by
pathologists
• Diagnoses may be made by testing
blood, urine or other fluids or from a
biopsy
• Pathologists tell other doctors what
type of cancer you’ve got and how far
it has spread so they know what
treatment to offer
Pathology Myth 6
You have to be a doctor to work
in pathology
Pathology facts
• The majority of people who work in
pathology are not doctors
• There are opportunities for scientists
as well as support staff
• There are nearly 20,000 scientists
working in the specialty
• Medical school
• Foundation training
• Pathology training
• Research
• Minimum = 12
years
Pathologist training
• Science degree
• Postgraduate degree
• Basic training
• Specialist training
• Minimum = 10 years
Clinical Scientist training
• Science degree
• Basic training
• or
• Straight from A levels
• “Learn and earn”
• Continuing education
• Minimum = 5 years
Biomedical Scientist training
• Cytoscreener
• Lab assistant
• Administration
• IT
• Trials co-ordinator
Other opportunities
Pathology Myth 7
Medical students don’t need to
learn pathology
Pathology facts
• Many medical schools no longer have
a separate undergraduate pathology
course
• 70% of diagnoses in the NHS involve
pathology
• Medical student essay prize
SURGERY
MEDICINE
PAEDIATRICS
GYNAECOLOGY
GENERAL
PRACTICE
PATHOLOGY
ORTHOPAEDICS
EMERGENCY
MEDICINE
DERMATOLOGY
RHEUMATOLOGY
PLASTIC
SURGERY
UROLOGY
ENT
ONCOLOGY
Pathology facts
•
•
•
•
•
500 million biochemistry tests
130 million haematology tests
50 million microbiology tests
13 million histology slides
4 million cytology slides
• = 14 tests for every person in the
country each year
Focus group comments
• “It’s interesting how they find out what
diseases are and work out a cure.”
• “It’s clever and varied, you unravel the
puzzle.”
• “It made pathologists seem more
interesting.”
• “The path report is essential to any
diagnosis or treatment.”
• “Pathology is using science to be
helpful and useful.”
• IVF
• Pregnancy test
• Antenatal tests
• Heel prick test
Pathology for life
• Vaccinations
• Antibiotics
• Allergies
• Leukaemia
Pathology for life
• Lumps and bumps
• Appendicitis
• STIs
• Blood transfusion
Pathology for life
• Cervical smears
• Breast screening
• Moles
• Anaemia
Pathology for life
• Prostate cancer
• Bowel cancer
screening
• Infections
• Blood tests
Pathology for life
• Surgery
• Chemotherapy
• Organ function
• Autopsy
Pathology for life
Pathology facts
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Pathologists work for the benefit of the living
There are 19 different pathology specialties
Many pathologists work with patients
Pathologists are team players
Pathology is an interesting and exciting
career
Pathologists diagnose cancer
You don’t have to be a doctor to work in
pathology
Pathology is a popular specialty
A knowledge of pathology is essential for all
doctors