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Great Pumpkin or other Path Enthusiasts

Discussion in 'Clinical Rotations' started by Mindy, Oct 29, 2001.

  1. Mindy

    Mindy Senior Member
    10+ Year Member

    Jun 10, 2001
    Likes Received:
    :confused: Hi All! Like many I am at that frustrating point where I have to begin seriously thinking about my future. I was wondering what the current thought is on the future of pathology as a specialty (particularly A.P.) I am not particularly concerned with whether or not there will be jobs available; I am convinced there will be. Rather how will technology, particularly radiographic/nuclear imaging influence the field? Will there be a decreased need for biopsies as PET scans and the likes become more sophisticated? Will the microscope continue to be a part of pathology in 20 years? What is the going feeling out there for people, like Great Pumpkin, who've had a chance to think about it? (Yup, I know, I am a perfect fatalist pathologist-to-be at heart!) Thanks all.
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  2. Magree

    Magree Senior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Sep 5, 2001
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    I'm sure great pumpkin can answer this more thoroughly but I'll take a stab. I think that technology is taking some work away from pathologists (i.e thin prep) but there is simply so much more that can be interpretted from histo that I don't see clinicians wanting to have their patients get less care. You must also consider that while some technology may take work away - other tech developments will increase it. One of the exciting things about pathology is the ability to do research and forward the field!

    However, the HMOs are messing path up as they have most other areas of medicine except maybe preventive care. A pathologist in my home town said that they just lost all their pap smears - the slides were now sent to some huge reading facility in a larger town in our state. To me this may be more cost efficient but once again the patient loses since there is no one for the clinician to confer - and this is very important to good car quality. I find changes like this really sad. Hope this helps. I'm sure GP can add more.


  3. GreatPumpkin

    GreatPumpkin Mystical Treatbringer
    10+ Year Member

    Mar 23, 2001
    Likes Received:
    I agree with what was said. Path will lose some work and gain some as well. Also, remember as the population is aging as a whole the need for path is growing. There is not any technology that is currently available that can replace looking a histology who knows for sure maybe in 20+ years. But, then that technology will likely be also interpreted and controlled by pathology. Even if something was invented tomorrow to analyse the every cancer and give a print out of exactly what it is. It would take many many years to get it in place. All the staging criteria, margin evaluations, etc is based on histology. Not to mention the 10+ years of clinical trials the intrument would have to go through.

    As far a radiology advances go, that will likely just identify more lesions that path will eventually evaluate.

    I am not worried about it. There will be good jobs for good pathologists somewhere. So just go with what field you love, the rest will fall into place.

    Also, thin prep didn't take away from pathologists. Just changed the way it is evaluated. Cytology is a hot field right now. With large salaries.
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