Demographic and practice characteristics of pathologists who enjoy breast tissue interpretation

Natalia V. Oster, Berta M. Geller, Patricia A. Carney, Lisa M. Reisch, Tracy Onega, Donald L. Weaver, Paul Frederick, Joann G. Elmore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Physician attributes, job satisfaction and confidence in clinical skills are associated with enhanced performance and better patient outcomes. We surveyed 252 pathologists to evaluate associations between enjoyment of breast pathology, demographic/clinical characteristics and diagnostic performance. Diagnostic performance was determined by comparing pathologist assessments of a set of 60 cases with consensus assessments of the same cases made by a panel of experienced pathologists. Eighty-three percent of study participants reported enjoying breast pathology. Pathologists who enjoy breast interpretation were more likely to review ≥10 cases/week (. p=0.003), report breast interpretation expertise (. p=0.013) and have high levels of confidence interpreting breast pathology (. p<0.001). These pathologists were less likely to report that the field was challenging (. p<0.001) and that breast cases make them more nervous than other types of pathology (. p<0.001). Enjoyment was not associated with diagnostic performance. Millions of women undergo breast biopsy annually, thus it is reassuring that although nearly a fifth of practicing pathologists who interpret breast tissue report not enjoying the field, precision is not impacted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-111
Number of pages5
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015


  • Breast
  • Pathology
  • Physician characteristics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research
  • Surgery


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