Pathology is a diagnostic specialty. We do not offer treatments.
The following are examples of our work:
- Provide intraoperative diagnosis by frozen section; this is usually performed to determine whether there is a tumour at the resection margin to guide the surgeons on the next steps of surgery.
- Provide diagnosis on biopsy specimens to determine whether there is cancer, infection or other diseases.
- Provide diagnosis on cytology specimens such as Pap smears, fine needle aspirations of mass lesions, etc.
- Provide diagnosis on resection specimens to determine cancer type, stage, grade or other diseases.
- Predict response to therapy through testing of immunohistochemical and molecular markers, such as HER2/neu testing for breast cancer.
- Determine cause of death by doing autopsy.
Surgical Pathology, is the most significant and time consuming branch of pathology with a primary focus on examining surgically removed tissues with the naked eye or under a microscope for definitive diagnosis of disease. Tissues are obtained from small biopsies of skin, core biopsies for the diagnosis of cancer, and from removed tumours. Surgical pathology involves macroscopic (gross) and microscopic (histologic) tissue analysis where the molecular properties of tissue samples are assessed by immunohistochemistry or other laboratory tests. The department provides intraoperative diagnostic supports to all MUHC hospitals and consultation services within and beyond the province of Quebec.
Contact: 514-934-1934 Ext. 42819
Autopsy is a highly specialized surgical procedure performed by a pathologist. It consists of a thorough examination of a corpse to determine the cause and manner of death and to evaluate any disease or injury that may be present. The principal aim of an autopsy or post-mortem examination is to determine the cause of death, the state of health of the person before they died, and whether any medical diagnosis and treatment before death was appropriate.
Contact: 514-934-1934 Ext. 4282
Cytopathology is a branch of pathology that studies and diagnoses diseases on the cellular level. It’s usually used to aid in the diagnosis of cancer, but also helps in the diagnosis of certain infectious diseases and other inflammatory conditions. Cytopathology is generally used on samples of free cells or tissue fragments that spontaneously exfoliate or are removed from tissues by abrasion or fine needle aspiration, in contrast to histopathology, which studies whole tissues.
Molecular Pathology is a relatively recent discipline that has achieved remarkable progress over the past decade. It emphasizes the study and diagnosis of disease through the examination of molecules within organs, tissues or bodily fluids. Many diseases such as cancer are caused by mutations or alterations in the genetic code of a person, and identification of specific hallmark mutations allows clinicians to classify a disease and choose the appropriate treatment. As a result, molecular analysis is leading the way towards personalized medicine by allowing us to predict a patient’s response to certain anti-cancer therapies based on their own genetic make-up. Molecular Pathology includes the development of molecular and genetic approaches to the diagnosis and classification of human tumours. It also designs and validates predictive biomarkers for prognosis of disease and susceptibility of developing certain cancers in individuals. The high levels of sensitivity provided by molecular analysis allows for the detection of very small tumours that are otherwise undetectable by other means and will likely result in earlier diagnosis, improved patient care and better outcomes for survival.