"Disease detectives" to reveal their secrets at Leeds cancer centre display
Patients and visitors at the regional cancer treatment centre at St James’s University Hospital in Leeds will get the chance to learn more about the tests that help diagnose a range of serious conditions during a week of displays beginning on Monday 11 June.
As part of the National Year of Pathology, histopathologists - specialists who look at tissues and organs to identify diseases and in particular cancer - will be hosting a display in the main atrium of the Bexley Wing at St James’s every day from 12 noon until 2pm from 11 to 15 June.
Visitors will be able to look at a “powerwall” bank of screens which enlarge the views of tissues normally seen under a microscope, and watch a video showing the process tests and specimens go through once they arrive at the hospital. There will also be the opportunity to ask questions of some of the staff who work in the department.
Consultant histopathologist Dr Sam Chilka from Leeds Teaching Hospitals commented: “Patients and the public often know very little about the tests that are absolutely vital to getting a quick diagnosis of a problem and recommending the correct treatment.
“While the public perception of pathology is often around solving murders, as seen on crime programmes, in hospitals we are more like the disease detectives, examining samples and pinpointing the exact cause of a patient’s particular health problem.
“In the Bexley Wing we have 35 consultant histopathologists who examine tissue samples to diagnose, for example, a particular form of cancer as quickly as possible and then work with other specialists to recommend the best form of treatment. Supporting our work is a team of biomedical scientists who prepare hundreds of samples every day.
“We hope that by hosting this week of displays we will demonstrate the effort that goes on behind the scenes to help patients from Leeds and across the region with cancer and other serious diseases. Histopathology is really the hidden science that saves lives.”
Every year the histopathology department in Leeds deals with around 200,000 samples and the wider pathology service at the Trust deals with around 5 million samples from hospitals and GP practices.
Pathology accounts for around 4% of the total NHS budget nationally with an average of 14 tests performed for each man, woman and child in the UK each year. Around 70% of diagnoses made in the NHS depend on the results of pathology investigations.