Pathology is the examination of body tissues, fluids or blood to help determine the presence, cause or severity of disease, the potential for a disease to develop, or to monitor the efficacy of treatment. Pathology is an integral part of differential diagnosis and ensuring the proper treatment is recommended by your doctor.
Pathology tests involve taking a sample from the patient in the form of blood, urine, faeces, sputum, swab or scraping. This is relatively non-invasive and can be performed by your doctor or the local pathology collection centre. In some cases, for example, when diagnosing skin lesions, tissue samples may need to be collected via a biopsy, and may require a local or general anaesthetic.
Once the sample is collected, it is analysed under a microscope by a pathologist, or by machine in a lab. The results of the sample are compared with standard reference intervals, and forwarded on to the doctor who ordered the test. It is the role of the doctor to interpret the results of the pathology test within the context of the reasons for ordering the test.
There is no such thing as a "test for everything". Despite huge advances in the area of molecular science and the constant development of new and more sophisticated tests, there are many diseases for which there is no single diagnostic test. Doctors piece together various bits of information from symptoms, physical examination, as well as pathology and imaging, to come up with the most likely cause of a problem.
How We Care
We know that for some individuals, the collection of pathology samples such as a blood test can be scary and uncomfortable. Our doctors therefore only recommend pathology tests where clinically indicated, and will either take the sample themselves or refer you to a third party collection centre. For the ease and convenience of our patients, we have a Healthscope pathology collection centre on the ground level of our building, which provides a walk-in service (no appointment necessary). They are open between 8am and 3pm Monday to Friday. There are also other pathology collection centres nearby that are open in the morning. If you are uncomfortable with using a pathology collection centre and would prefer someone at Globe Medical to collect the sample instead, please speak with your doctor.
Depending on the type and urgency of the pathology test, results are usually sent electronically to your doctor within 24-48 hours after collection of the sample. Your doctor will advise you at the time of your initial consultation, of their preferred method of contact regarding the results of your pathology test. Please ensure that the reception desk has your most up-to-date contact details, so that your doctor is able to advise you of the pathology results. For reasons of confidentiality, you may not enquire about results for another person.