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Pathology

For Patients

Stanford Pathology consultants are available to review patient slides to provide a second opinion regarding pathology diagnoses, and we have consultants at Stanford with expertise in all areas of pathology.

Why consider getting a second opinion for a pathology diagnosis? In some cases, the initial pathology diagnosis rendered on a specimen is either incorrect or is insufficiently precise to direct treatment correctly. It is well established that such overt diagnostic errors can occur in pathology, with one peer-reviewed study showing a rate of 1.4 to 9.5%, depending on the organ site involved (Cancer 1999 86:2426-35). These errors can be important, for example, calling a benign process malignant or a malignant process benign. Moreover, in many cases, the correct personalized treatment can only be chosen after obtaining the most precise and accurate diagnosis. If getting a second, expert, opinion on a pathology specimen confirms the initial diagnosis; this will provide reassurance to the patient and his or her physician. Moreover, such consultations may provide more complete or up-to-date information to guide treatment decisions. In addition, if desired, our consulting pathologists can recommend individual physicians or Multidisciplinary Tumor Boards at Stanford with expertise and interest in the treatment of the diagnosed disorder.

Because it is so important to be sure of a patient’s diagnosis before beginning treatment, each of  the  Stanford Hospital & Clinics (SHC) Medical Staff and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital (LPCH) Medical Staff requires that the Stanford Department of Pathology review outside pathology specimens obtained from patients being referred for treatment to SHC or LPCH. These requirements are intended to ensure that pathologists in the Stanford Department of Pathology either confirm, or correct, patient diagnoses that are based on the review of their pathology that was performed outside of SHC and LPCH. Therefore, if you (or your child) are being referred to SHC or LPCH for treatment, your (or your child’s) outside pathology specimens will be reviewed by pathologists in the Stanford Department of Pathology. If you (or your child) are not a Stanford patient and are not planning to receive care at Stanford, you can receive a second opinion from the Stanford Department of Pathology by asking your pathologist or any of your other physicians to request your second opinion by completing our consultation request form.

You can print out our online consultation form for the physician to complete, or tell him or her that the form is available at this site. Please remember that we cannot review the slides until the completed paperwork has been received. The completed form, materials to be reviewed, and a copy of the surgical pathology report should be sent to the address below. Overnight delivery is preferred.

Stanford Department of Pathology
Stanford University Medical Center
300 Pasteur Drive-Room H2110
Stanford, CA 94305
(650) 723-7211

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