This invited review describes why and how a pathologist should talk to patients in order to enhance the patient care pathway. The pathologist-patient interaction should become a natural extension to multidisciplinary team decision making, and also become the forum in which patients are helped to understand important aspects of their conditions and the pathological basis for their treatment plans. There is a vast amount of information available through the internet and to digest this can be a difficult process for a patient who is already having to cope with a medical condition. The pathologist is often best placed to sieve through this information and offer the patient the relevant detail necessary to understand the condition and the management pathway. Pathologists can provide up-to-date, simple information about malignant and even certain significant benign conditions, and they can do this with the help of several pictorial tools. In this way, the pathologist becomes an even more active member of a clinical team and helps both clinicians and patients to deal with illnesses in a novel way hitherto not considered.
© 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.