An accurate diagnosis is the most important part of your cancer testing and screening. Torrance Memorial has an advanced laboratory with top-tier technology. Our expert pathologists use a sophisticated array of tests and analyses to thoroughly examine all biopsies and tissue samples to arrive at the correct diagnosis.
The Role of Pathology in Cancer Care
Pathologists don’t typically see patients in person, but are among the most important members of your cancer care team. Your treatment relies on the accuracy of their expert diagnosis.
Our skilled pathologists conduct microscopic-level investigations of biopsy samples, blood and other samples of tissues and fluids. They use sophisticated testing to determine whether cancer is present (a malignancy) or not (benign). If a malignancy is found, further analysis will find the cancer subtype and provide information your doctors will use to personalize your cancer treatment plan.
Every pathologist at Torrance Memorial is board certified by The American Board of Pathology in anatomical and clinical pathology. Highly focused on accuracy and providing quick results, our onsite pathology team delivers the most precise and timely diagnostic services. Our laboratory uses state-of-the-art medical technology found at leading university medical centers and research hospitals.
The Importance of Excellence in Pathology
Cancer treatment is even more personalized. Treatment plans are derived from the detailed information obtained by the cell analysis done in the pathology department. Our pathologists don’t only identify the specific type and subtype of cancer, they also analyze tumor aggressiveness and measure an array of bio-molecular markers and perform tumor gene analysis that aids the fine-tuning of treatment decisions. Pathology can also be used to verify the effectiveness of treatment.
Here are some of the ways pathology serves South Bay cancer patients:
Sophisticated laboratory tests determine if cancer is present. Pathologists perform these tests on the tissue or fluids collect by biopsy or surgery. These reports identify the specific type of cancer based on appearance, location and other studies. This phase determines whether your cancer has spread and, if so, how far. Pathology results also help pinpoint the cancer stage.
Based on special studies, pathologists may determine the nature and seriousness of your cancer. These prognostic markers allow your cancer care team to shape your treatment and medications to most aggressively combat the disease.
Aiding Treatment: Intra-Operative Diagnosis
Pathology is routinely used during surgery to ensure that a tumor has been fully and successfully removed. While a patient is still under anesthesia and in the operating room, samples of a removed tumor are immediately delivered to the pathologist for microscopic examination. Tests are done to determine if the margin of the sample is cancer-free or if more tissue needs to be removed. Nearby lymph nodes are also checked to see if cancer has spread. This procedure is referred to as intra-operative diagnosis.
Every patient’s continued health and safety is the top priority of every member of the Torrance Memorial cancer care team. For the pathology laboratory, that means finding the most accurate diagnosis possible.
Our rigorous quality assurance process requires that not one but multiple pathologists review all cancer diagnoses. Occasionally it happens that a diagnosis is not clear-cut; in such cases, our pathologists send tissue samples for analysis by top experts at major medical centers in California and throughout the nation, with whom they maintain close working relationships. These safeguards protect the integrity of the report and assure the accuracy of your diagnosis.
Many medical centers outsource pathology analysis to external labs but, here at Torrance Memorial, we believe our quality standards are best upheld by doing the vast majority of testing onsite. A few highly specialized tests are examined by carefully selected outside pathology experts.
Keeping an onsite laboratory assures the quality of your diagnosis and expedites your results. More than 90 percent of results from laboratory studies are available to your cancer care team within 24 hours.