13 doctors weighed in:

Can a pathologist tell the difference between types of cancer cells just by looking at them?

13 doctors weighed in
Dr. Ed Friedlander
Pathology
8 doctors agree

In brief: Absolutely

Many diagnoses are naked-eye with near-perfect accuracy.
Interestingly, prostate cancer is only 2/3 accurate by naked-eye. But we always use the microscope, and if the first stain doesn't give an unambiguous answer, we resort to a battery of additional stains. Molecular diagnosis is supplemental. Pathology has been for me the fascination of a lifetime.

In brief: Absolutely

Many diagnoses are naked-eye with near-perfect accuracy.
Interestingly, prostate cancer is only 2/3 accurate by naked-eye. But we always use the microscope, and if the first stain doesn't give an unambiguous answer, we resort to a battery of additional stains. Molecular diagnosis is supplemental. Pathology has been for me the fascination of a lifetime.
Dr. Ed Friedlander
Dr. Ed Friedlander
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Dr. Kris Gast
Radiation Oncology
4 doctors agree

In brief: Looking at CA cells

That's the whole name of the game.
Tissue is sent to the pathologist who "looks" at it under the microscope and then tells the rest of us what kind of cancer it is, if it is slow growing, and how it responded to a number of different stains.Pathologists are the heroes behind the scenes who basically determine a patient's fate.

In brief: Looking at CA cells

That's the whole name of the game.
Tissue is sent to the pathologist who "looks" at it under the microscope and then tells the rest of us what kind of cancer it is, if it is slow growing, and how it responded to a number of different stains.Pathologists are the heroes behind the scenes who basically determine a patient's fate.
Dr. Kris Gast
Dr. Kris Gast
Thank
Dr. Joseph Woods
Pathology
1 doctor agrees

In brief: Sometimes.

Usually, samples of a lesion are taken, and looked at under a microscope.
But an experienced pathologist might have a good idea of what a lesion is just by looking at it. Leiomyomas, for example, have a very characteristic appearance. But samples for the microscope are always taken to be sure.

In brief: Sometimes.

Usually, samples of a lesion are taken, and looked at under a microscope.
But an experienced pathologist might have a good idea of what a lesion is just by looking at it. Leiomyomas, for example, have a very characteristic appearance. But samples for the microscope are always taken to be sure.
Dr. Joseph Woods
Dr. Joseph Woods
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Dr. Marilda Chung
Pathology

In brief: Pathologist

Often times, yes! Surgical pathologists use microscopy to evaluate and classify tumors and other conditions.
The majority of "common" cancers can be diagnosed by "just looking at them". However, some cancers are "undifferentiated" and need additional studies, like special staining with antibodies, or molecular studies, to determine exactly what kind of cancer it is.

In brief: Pathologist

Often times, yes! Surgical pathologists use microscopy to evaluate and classify tumors and other conditions.
The majority of "common" cancers can be diagnosed by "just looking at them". However, some cancers are "undifferentiated" and need additional studies, like special staining with antibodies, or molecular studies, to determine exactly what kind of cancer it is.
Dr. Marilda Chung
Dr. Marilda Chung
Thank
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