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New report urges pathologists and healthcare leaders to collaborate to transform cancer diagnostics

publication date: Apr 23, 2020
author/source: Leica Biosystems


Expert Report calls for pathologists to engage hospital administrators to address key challenges and opportunities to improve cancer diagnostics and patient care.

Leica Biosystems, a world-leading cancer diagnostics company, today launches The Future of Pathology Expert Report, now availible for download. The report calls for pathologists and healthcare leaders to collaborate in pursuit of their common goal – to improve cancer diagnostics. Given the uncertain times currently faced by our healthcare communities globally, The Future of Pathology Report details how the field of pathology can evolve to meet these challenges.

The Future of Pathology Report outlines key areas driving change in pathology worldwide, identifies challenges, and shines a light on the opportunities to transform the profession and improve cancer diagnostics and the delivery of patient care. The Report was developed by an international panel of pathologists in consultation with healthcare executives, cancer stakeholders, and pathology leaders.

Cancer cases are predicted to increase by 70% over the next two decades,1 although the number of pathologists is in decline – by 2030, there will be a deficit equivalent to 5,700 pathologists in the US,2 and in the UK, a third of all clinical pathologists (32%) are expected to retire within the next 5 years.3 As outlined in The Future of Pathology Expert Report, developments that enable pathologists to diagnose cancer quickly and more accurately are increasingly important.

“Pathology has reached a critical moment as cancer cases rise and the workforce declines – the time to pursue positive changes to the profession is now,” said panel member Dr. Jerad Gardner, Department of Pathology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, United States. “To survive and thrive, we should embrace new technology and guide the implementation of the changes already under way – whether it's digital pathology and Artificial Intelligence, molecular pathology and personalized medicine, or ways to optimize the pathology workforce and connect with patients and the cancer community online."

Recommendations in The Future of Pathology Report include:


  • Realising the potential for Digital Pathology (DP) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) – embracing new technologies to deliver efficiencies, better quality of care, and greater support for pathologists
  • Unlocking the power of molecular pathology to make a forward leap to personalized medicine and improved cancer treatment and care
  • Engagement with hospital administrators, so pathologists demonstrate the value they provide to hospitals and cancer departments – leading to improved perceptions and resource allocation
  • Pathologist integration in educational programs, including dedicated outreach to attract and recruit undergraduate medical students, plus greater emphasis on lifelong learning 'on the job' – leading to a stronger, sustainable pathology workforce


The Report features chapters on four priority focus areas, written by pathologists Dr. Matthew Clarke and Dr. Bethany Williams from the UK, and Dr. Jerad Gardner and Dr. Tiffany Graham from the US. The subjects are: pathologist education; Digital Pathology and AI; improving perceptions of pathology; and molecular pathology.

The Future of Pathology Expert Report is part of an initiative to ignite the conversation between pathologists and healthcare leaders about how we transform cancer diagnostics and advance patient care. The initiative is the catalyst for a conversation, bringing together stakeholders from across the care continuum to discuss the common goal of improving cancer diagnostics. It was launched at an event at the Royal College of Pathologists in London, UK, on International Pathology Day 2019, captured in a short film available at The Future of Pathology website.

“We know how essential our work is to ensuring the best possible outcomes for cancer patients – but hospital administrators, healthcare leaders, our multidisciplinary colleagues and the public are not always able to make best use of our expertise,” said Dr. Bethany Williams, Digital Pathology Fellow, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, UK. “It is absolutely vital that we are proactive in tackling the challenges our profession faces – and seizing the opportunities in front of us – through a collaborative and forward-thinking approach.”

The Future of Pathology is a true partnership between Leica Biosystems, the pathology community and healthcare leaders. The Future of Pathology project is supported by Leica Biosystems.

“At Leica Biosystems, we are proud to support pathologists in the life-changing work they do in the fight against cancer,” said Melissa Aquino, president of Leica Biosystems. “With this report, we’re aiming to spark conversations between pathologists and healthcare leaders on the very real challenges and opportunities for the profession, so that in collaboration we can transform cancer diagnostics together.”

The Report is available to download, alongside blog posts, videos and more. Get involved and be part of the conversation – visit the website and follow #TheFutureOfPathology on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

“I urge all pathologists to download and read this report – and then act on it. The future is very much in our hands, and we are the experts, so let’s take our insights and ideas to support healthcare leaders. Together we can realize our full potential in the fight against cancer,” summarised Dr. Jerad M. Gardner, Department of Pathology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, United States.


  1. World Health Organisation, World Cancer Report, 2014
  2. Robboy SJ, Weintraub S, Horvath AE, et al. Pathologist workforce in the United States: I. Development of a predictive model to examine factors influencing supply. Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2013;137:1723–1732.
  3. Cancer Research UK. Testing times to come? An evaluation of pathology capacity across the UK. 2016 Accessed 20 March 2020.


Download Report


About Leica Biosystems

Leica Biosystems is a cancer diagnostics company and a global leader in workflow solutions. Only Leica Biosystems offers the most comprehensive portfolio that spans the entire workflow from biopsy to diagnosis. With unique expertise, we are dedicated to driving innovations that connect people across radiology, pathology, surgery and oncology. Our experts are committed to delivering Improved Quality, Integrated Solutions, and Optimized Efficiencies leading to breakthrough advances in diagnostic confidence. Our mission of “Advancing Cancer Diagnostics, Improving Lives” is at the heart of our corporate culture. Leica Biosystems is headquartered in Germany and operates in over 100 countries.




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