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Digital Pathology Likely Will Reduce Cancer Misdiagnoses

By Jack H. FarnbauchJune 28, 2017

When a doctor suspects a person may have cancer, he or she typically calls in a second set of eyes to help in making a diagnosis. The second set of eyes is a pathologist. Pathology is a branch of medical science primarily concerning the cause, origin and nature of disease. Pathology involves the examination of tissues, organs, bodily fluids and autopsies in order to study and diagnose disease.

The decades-old technique of diagnosing cancer is done by placing tumor cells on glass slides for an examination under a microscope. These slides must then be processed and mailed for review by specialists, which could take days, or even weeks. But with the rise in computer technology, this old process is changing over to digital pathology.

With digital pathology, the same glass slides are digitized into millions of pixels, converting them into a large image that’s easier to analyze. Digital pathology images are far easier to store, share, and access. A diagnosis can be completed in hours by pathologists. These specialists can now digitally, accurately stage and grade specific types of malignancy. This will theoretically drastically reduce the number of misdiagnoses of cancer, saving time, money and life altering medical procedures, many of which were unnecessary prior to the advent of digital pathology technology.  

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