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Cancer Pathology Services

What Is A Cancer Pathologist?

A pathologist is a doctor who:

  • Studies tissue samples under a microscope to find problems in the cells.
  • Provides a final diagnosis of cancer.
  • Cites the stage of the disease for some types of cancers.
  • Writes a detailed report about the diagnosis, which doctors use to form a treatment plan.

At UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, our pathology experts:

  • Use state-of-the-art tools to provide patients and staff with a timely diagnosis.
  • Diagnose cancer using cutting-edge methods.
  • Follow the latest national cancer pathology guidelines.

Pathology Services at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center

We focus largely on the study of:

  • Tissues removed during surgery to diagnose diseases and help plan treatment.
  • Cells found in the blood, bone marrow, and some bodily fluids.
  • Tissues of the nervous system to diagnose brain, spinal cord, and eye diseases.

As well as the routine processing of tumors, we've refined techniques to detect any remaining cancer cells after treatment. We can also tell the stages of tumor progression.

We carry out many such complex studies for both blood and solid tumors. This lets us to offer a diagnosis and treatment input into patient care.

Second opinion program

If you're seeking a second opinion, you can make an appointment to have our experts read your test results.

In-Situ Hybridization (ISH) Lab

The ISH lab studies solid tumor expression of:

  • Genes that have the potential to cause cancer (oncogenes).
  • Molecules or germs affecting the network that surrounds, supports, and gives structure to the body's cells and tissues.
  • Viral diseases.

Fluorescent ISH techniques use a probe to look at a precise part of DNA. This helps us find gene changes and apply antibodies to oncoproteins produced by cancer genes.

Types of tumors we study

We use ISH to study cancerous tumors of the:

Molecular Anatomic Pathology

Pathologists at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center test solid tumor samples, both fresh and preserved.

We use the latest techniques to detect and describe gene changes to use for diagnosis and treatment planning.

This knowledge lets us divide tumors into different groups based on how they behave and respond to certain chemotherapy drugs. Vital to this effort is using tools such as laser capture to increase small biopsy samples for molecular testing.

This work is among the most advanced in the U.S. used for both research studies and clinical testing.

About the Anatomic Pathology Team

The Division of Anatomic Pathology:

  • Places an emphasis on the stages of tumor progression in blood, lung, soft tissue, and single cells.
  • Serves as the largest bone marrow and stem cell transplant center and blood cancer referral base in western Pa.
  • Supports the Breast Cancer Treatment Program, including studies of fine-needle aspirates and breast cancer markers.