Who Made My Breast Biopsy Diagnosis?

Who Made My Breast Biopsy Diagnosis?

If you have had a breast biopsy then you know who your radiologist or surgeon is. If you had a cancer diagnosis you also know who your medical oncologist or radiation oncologist is. However, most patients who undergo a breast biopsy or have breast surgery never get to know a very important member of their health care team-the doctor who gave them their diagnosis-their pathologist.

A pathologist is a medical doctor who spent an additional 3-5 years after medical school in a residency specializing in Anatomic or Clinical Pathology (or both). Many pathologists also spend another year or two doing a fellowship to sub-specialize. A breast pathologist is an Anatomic Pathologist who specializes in breast cancer and other breast diseases.

If you want to know who read your breast biopsy just take a look at the bottom of your pathology report. Once you find the name of your pathologist you can easily find out if he or she specializes in breast pathology. Most hospitals have websites where you can search each of the doctors and find out where they went to school, where they did their residency/fellowship, and what their specialty is. If that doesn’t work, a simple internet search should give you some information on that doctor, including whether they do research or publish papers/books on breast cancer.

The accuracy of your diagnosis is critical and shouldn’t be left in the hands of someone who does not see a lot of breast pathology in their practice. Your diagnosis dictates all future treatments you may receive. Many patients who get a diagnosis of breast cancer will search for a well-known expert in breast surgery or breast medical oncology, but not question who read their breast pathology.

To learn more about breast pathology: http://www.breastpathologyconsults.com

Thomas J. Lawton MD

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