Monday, October 17, 2016

Understanding Your Pathology Report - SYSF Webinar

Last week Save Your Skin Foundation facilitated a very informative webinar with Dr. Alan Spatz, Director, Pathology Department, Jewish General Hospital & Professor, Pathology and Oncology, McGill University. 

To diagnose diseases such as cancer, a sample of tissue called a biopsy is taken from a patient and examined by a pathologist to determine if cancer is present. A pathologist will then examine specimens removed during surgery (resections) for conditions such as cancer, to determine whether the tumour is benign or cancerous, and if cancerous, the exact cell type, grade and stage of the tumour. The pathologist, who is a member of your medical team, writes the pathology report that your treating doctor uses to provide the best care for you as a patient. In this webinar, Dr. Alan Spatz,Director of the Pathology Department at the Jewish general Hospital in Montreal, will provide insight on understanding your pathology report so that you can play an active role in your treatment. (source: SYSF)

When I was newly diagnosed with invasive nodular melanoma, I did not know where to turn for more information about my disease.  I was "banned" from googling it, so I asked every Physician I came into contact with for an explanation of the bizarre-looking terms on my medical reports.

After watching this webinar last week I am happy to report that my Oncologists and Fellows and my Family Physician all explained my pathology reports very well.  Consistent answers have led to my thorough understanding of the condition of my melanoma and it's effect on my body, and this was all reinforced on this webinar Understanding Your Pathology Report

I highly recommend anyone diagnosed with skin cancer at any stage watch this.  It is detailed for sure, and may even be a bit intimidating for someone newly diagnosed, but you can always bookmark it and check it out at a later date.  

I particularly liked the diagrams of microscopic samples of the various stages of a skin cancer, include basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.  Also, this is the first image I have found on the internet of my type of nodular melanoma, the black one on the right (gross), though mine was larger and had an irregular border.  Blech.

Anyway... the other details I found of interest was the explanation of HOW skin cancers are defined, and how the classification method for each of the factors that make up a diagnosis, are universal around the world.  All Pathologists use this method of defining each detail, ie. Breslow thickness (anything over 1mm in depth is considered invasive... mine was a 12.5mm).  

Please click here to watch, to register only your name and email address are required, then it goes right into the webinar:

Thank you yet again, Save Your Skin Foundation!

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