Cytopathology is the examination of cells from the body under the microscope to identify the signs and characteristics of disease. Cytopathology is often loosely called "cytology," a word that simply means the study of cells. A cytopathology report tells us whether the cells studied contains signs of disease.
The term cytopathology is derived from two Greek words - cytos (cells) and pathos (disease).
Cells examined for cytopathology can come from fluids extracted from body cavities - e.g. urine, sputum (spit), or fluids accumulating inside the chest or abdomen. Cells can also be extracted by inserting needles into lumps or diseased areas or tissues - called fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC). These cells are concentrated, plated and stained on slides and examined under the microscope.
In lymphomas, FNAC is a common test to identify lymphoma in lymph nodes and other body tissues.