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Pathology

The proper cancer treatment starts with proper diagnosis

Pathology is a critical part of cancer care – 85% of the decisions your doctors make are based on lab and pathology results. Pathology determines the initial diagnosis, including the stage and type of tumor. To an increasing degree, pathology results can also tell us which cancer treatment will work best. Legacy Cancer Institute partners with Cascade Pathology, a group of 18 nationally recognized pathologists. 

Experience results in expertise

All our pathologists are board certified, and combined offer more than 250 years of real-world experience in diagnosing all types of cancer. Most have additional certifications and extensive training in subspecialties including breast, GI and liver, gynecological and genital/urological pathology, hematopathology, cytopathology and molecular pathology. 

In addition, Cascade Pathology operates four centers of excellence:

  • Center for Breast Pathology
  • Center for GI and Liver Pathology
  • Center for Gynecologic Pathology
  • Center for Hematopathology (blood)

Our services

Diagnosis

From the microscopic evaluation, the pathologist determines:

  • If the tumor is a cancer
  • If the cancer has spread to normal tissues beyond the tumor itself
  • The cancer “grade” or how different the cells are from normal cells (Grade 1 -3) 
  • The size of the cancer tumor


Prognosis and treatment

Special tests provide additional information that help your doctor recommend the treatment options with the greatest chance of success. This is particularly true for breast and GI cancers. Examples include: 

  • A test that measures the growth rate of the cancer cells compared to normal cells
  • Hormone receptor tests (ER/PR) that indicate whether a breast cancer will respond to hormone treatment
  • A test (HER2/neu) that determines whether a breast cancer has abnormal genes, to determine whether the tumor will respond to anti-HER2 antibody therapy (Herceptin)


During treatment

During and after surgery, the pathologist determines: 

  • Whether the whole cancer has been removed and the “margins are clean” (whether there is normal tissue completely surrounding the space where the tumor was removed)
  • Whether the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes

Our providers

Learn more about our pathologists