Human tissue

Histopathologists are doctors who specialise in studying the changes caused by disease in human tissues. Using sophisticated microscopes and a trained eye, they examine tissues and cells removed from patients in the clinic or at operation.

By examining tissue sections which have been stained to reveal the microscopic structure, a histopathologist decides whether disease, such as cancer, is present. If so, what effect this will have on the patient and how it should be treated. Many different stains are used to identify different tissue components and additional investigations involving electron microscopy or molecular biology are often helpful in selected cases. Although some histopathologists specialise, like surgeons, in diseases of a particular part of the body, they all need a broad-based understanding of the clinical and pathological aspects of disease. 

  • Histopathology

    Histopathology is the study of diseased tissue, for example, breast lumps or specimens of bowel removed because of suspected cancer, including examination under the microscope.

  • Cytopathology

    Cytopathologists study diseases at a cellular level. Specimens may be bodily fluids or other samples that are placed into a fluid after being taken (such as a cervical smear test).

  • Forensic Pathology

    Forensic pathology is the determination of causes of death for medico-legal purposes.

  • Neuropathology

    The study of central and peripheral nervous tissue in adults and children.

  • Paediatric and Perinatal Pathology

    There are two main components to the job, paediatric and perinatal pathology. Perinatal pathology involves the investigation of diseases at and around the time of birth.