When a tumor is biopsied or removed from a patient, a test is performed to see if the cells are cancerous. A pathologist is the doctor who will look at the cells in a microscope to determine if they are cancerous. The pathologist will then create a pathology report which is a document that includes the diagnosis as well as other information that is helpful for the oncologist to be able to accurately treat the patient including:
- Where the cancer started
- Any classifications that might be important to note for cancers such as carcinoma, melanoma and lymphoma
- Leukemia and lymphoma classifications
Genetic studies may also be performed by the pathologist to determine if there were any gene alterations that may impact how the cancer is treated and may be able to give important information to the patient’s family members.