Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Preventing overdiagnosis

Potential sources of overdiagnosis in histopathology

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 24 August 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e5722
  1. Murali Varma, consultant histopathologist1,
  2. Varsha Shah, consultant histopathologist2
  1. 1University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff CF14 4XN, UK
  2. 2Royal Gwent Hospital, Newport NP20 2UB, UK
  1. varma_murali{at}

We highlight two potential sources of overdiagnosis related to histopathological examination of surgical specimens and terminology.1

Firstly, submitting multiple sections from background macroscopically normal tissue for microscopy is standard practice for histopathologists. These samples may contain coincidental in situ or invasive cancer. For example, background breast tissue from excision of a fibroadenoma may show …

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