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The FAQ Initiative: Understanding Your Pathology Report

Patients are beginning to take a more active role in their health care. They use the Internet to research their disease and to find doctors to offer second opinions. They are also starting to ask for and read their pathology reports. Often, however, patients might not understand the medical terms used in the reports. Most websites that provide cancer information do not attempt to explain pathology reports on specific cancers, but rather give general information about various cancers and how they are treated.

To help patients and their families begin to better understand what their pathology report means, a series of Frequently Asked Questions and Answers (FAQs) were developed for the most common cancer types. The FAQs were developed by the Association of Directors of Anatomic and Surgical Pathology and have been endorsed by the College of American Pathologists (CAP). After their development, we partnered with the American Cancer Society to make the FAQs easily available to those who need them. American Cancer Society has also reviewed our work, and together we hope this resource will help patients and families make informed decisions about their cancer and its treatment.

All FAQs were reviewed by a small group of lay people to help ensure that the information can be understood by most patients who request his or her pathology report. The cancer site-specific FAQs have also been reviewed by physicians who see patients with that particular type of cancer. As always, these FAQs are not meant to replace the advice and information provided by your physician.

Jonathan Epstein, MD
The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore MD
Director of the FAQ Initiative
The Weinberg Building, Rm. 2242
401 N. Broadway Street
Baltimore, MD 21231
Tel. (410) 955-5043
Fax (443) 287-3818
email. jepstein@jhmi.edu

FAQ Authors

Director of FAQ Initiative

Jonathan I. Epstein, M.D.
The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, MD

Concept of FAQ Initiative

Juan Rosai, M.D. (Chair)
Centro Diagnostico Italiano (CDI), Milan, Italy

Manfred Dietel, M.D.
Institute of Pathology Charité, Humboldt University of Medicine, Berlin, Germany

Jonathan I. Epstein, M.D.
The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, MD

Robert J. Kurman, M.D.
The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, MD

Elizabeth Montgomery, M.D.
The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, MD

Manuel Sobrinho-Simões, M.D.
University of Porto, Porto, Portugal

Ronald S. Weinstein, M.D.
University of Arizona, Tuscon, AZ

Franco Visinoni
Milestone Medical Technologies, Bergamo, Italy

Authors - Breast

Jonathan I. Epstein, M.D.
The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, MD

Stuart J. Schnitt, M.D.
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA

Jean F. Simpson, M.D.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN

Authors - Gastrointestinal System

Wendy L. Frankel, M.D.
Ohio State University Medical Center, Columbus, OH

Laura W. Lamps, M.D.
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AK

Joel K. Greenson, M.D.
University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, MI

Elizabeth A. Montgomery
The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, MD

Authors - Lung

Jonathan I. Epstein, M.D.
The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, MD

Jeffery L. Myers, M.D.
University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, MI

Wick, MR, M.D.
University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, VA

Yousem S.A., M.D.
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA

Authors - Prostate

Jonathan I. Epstein, M.D.
The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, MD

Mahul B. Amin, M.D.
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA

Peter A. Humphrey, M.D., Ph.D.
Washington University Medical Center, St. Louis, MO

Acknowledgement: All of the FAQs were reviewed by William C. Allsbrook, Jr. M.D.