Pathology is the study of disease, its causes and progression. Pathologists look for irregularities within samples, but usually these tests are performed to ensure that everything is fine. Through preventive screenings, diagnostic tests can aid in detection of potentially terminal conditions at a nascent stage. Pathology also has a major role to play in research, such as discovering treatments for cancer and hereditary conditions, developing vaccines against infectious diseases, or confirming that blood transfusions are safe. Pathology is the cornerstone of most areas of healthcare – providing insights into how to manage patients’ conditions – either by confirming a diagnosis, managing medication or monitoring the progression of a condition.
Pathology tests are associated with more than 70% of all diagnoses and almost all cancer diagnoses which illustrates their importance. Top 4 reasons you need a pathology test today are:
- Identifying likely health risks
Pathology tests can provide information about certain aspects of a person’s health at that point in time. One of the biggest advantages of diagnostic tests is that they help in early detection thereby tackling the symptoms at an early stage. For instance, a person with high blood pressure may take a pathology test to assess their risk factors for heart disease.
Pathology tests also help classify the future risk of diseases which is very useful for adopting early intervention measures or prevention strategies. Diagnostic tests enable this process by documenting a baseline measurement for future reference such as a red blood cells count to record anaemia levels; foreseeing if a disease has a high risk of developing such as monitoring the risk of heart disease in people who are overweight or obese; providing an indication about the risk of developing a particular hereditary disease or condition, such as diabetes, through genetic testing of people with a high-risk profile.
- Screening for disease
Screening is an organized and systematic public health strategy to reduce the incidence of death and illness from particular diseases. The objective of screening is to identify a disease in the early stages so it can be treated or prevented before the person is even aware they have it, or before it develops into something more serious. For instance, Pap smears are used to screen women for cervical cancer.
Screening is used for several reasons. It can help with the early detection of conditions such as cancer, or help determine the chances of carrying inherited or genetic diseases, such as Down’s Syndrome. Common screening programs include antenatal screening, newborn screening, cancer screening. Screening can also help prevent an infectious disease spreading to others in the family or community. People who work with hazardous materials, such as mercury, lead or asbestos also undergo screening.
- Diagnosing the correct disease
Diagnosing a disease or condition is not always straightforward. Often, some diseases have similar symptoms and need diagnostic tests to determine the amount of hormones or other concentrations of chemicals in the blood. In such cases, your doctor will prescribe simple laboratory tests to assess the exact condition and provide suitable treatment.
- Monitoring a condition or treatment
Pathology tests may be prescribed to monitor and manage the progress of a condition and determine how it is likely to progress (prognosis). An example is using blood tests to monitor the progress of thyroid disease. Pathology tests can also help monitor the success of treatment for a disease or condition such as assessing the average amount of glucose in the blood over a few months to monitor diabetic control.
Pathology tests can also determine how well a treatment is working by determining the response to a therapeutic drug treatment and whether the dose for drug treatment needs adjustment, such as using a thyroid function test to check if thyroxine replacement therapy is effective.
At Apollo Diagnostics we firmly believe that prevention is better than cure. Visit your closest diagnostic service center to avail of our state-of-the-art services in pathology laboratory testing.