Physicians who practice Pathology diagnose and characterize disease in living patients by examining biopsies and other specimens. For example, the vast majority of cancer diagnoses are made or confirmed by a Pathologist. Pathologists may also conduct autopsies to investigate causes of death (sometimes referred to as Forensic Pathology). The medical practice of pathology grew out the tradition of investigative pathology, and many of the academic leaders in pathology today are accomplished in both basic science research and diagnostic practice. However, as with other specialties in medicine, most modern physician-pathologists are employed in full-time practice, and do not perform original research.
Pathology is a unique medical specialty in that pathologists typically do not see patients directly, but rather serve as consultants to other physicians (often referred to as "clinicians" within the pathology community). However, in the United States and in many other countries, pathologists receive the same doctorate training, and undergo the same medical licensure process as other physicians. Pathology is a diverse field, and the organization of subspecialties within pathology vary between nations.
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