A career in...
A career in histopathology
Good communication and diagnostic skills are essential for anyone wanting to pursue this fascinating specialty, says Lucas Brammar
Histopathologists are sometimes stereotyped as solitary individuals who lack social skills and spend an unhealthy amount of time with dead bodies or in a dark room with a microscope. The reality is different. A histopathologist’s main role is to diagnose disease on the basis of cellular and tissue samples. However, another important part of their job is communicating information to the teams involved in a patient’s care so that those teams can formulate management plans.
This diagnostic work entails a wide variety of techniques, from traditional microscopic interpretation to cutting edge molecular diagnostics. Histopathology is divided into several subspecialties which offer a range of diagnostic work (box 1).
Histopathologists provide diagnostic reports to teams caring for patients. They analyse specimens taken from patients in different locations, from the operating theatre to community general practice surgeries. Every specimen is accompanied by a request form that includes a brief description of the