Pathology (from the Greek for "the study of suffering") is the study of the nature, cause and diagnosis of disease or, in a general sense, any condition produced by a disease. It is both a medical speciality and an ongoing field of scientific study. A specialist in the field is known as a pathologist.
Pathology embraces four different fields of study:
- Etiology, the study of the mechanisms of how diseases affect the body
- Pathogenesis, the study of how disease starts in the body
- Morphology, or how cell structures are changed by disease; and
- Clinical manifestations of changes in cell structure.
Kinds of pathology include:
- anatomic: studies the structural changes of disease. This is broken down into several sub-specialities such as surgical pathology, cell pathology (cytopathology), dermatopathology and forensic pathology.
- clinical: uses clinical analysis and laboratory procedures in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. Some of the sub-specialities of this field of study are hematopathology and molecular pathology.
- special: studies particular diseases or organs
- surgical: studies the application of pathological procedures for investigating surgically-removed tissues