A pathologist is a physician who studies body fluids and tissues, helps your primary care doctor make a diagnosis about your health or any medical problems you have, and uses laboratory tests to monitor the health of patients with chronic conditions. They may also recommend steps you can take to prevent illness and maintain good health. For example, when your blood is drawn as part of your annual physical, a pathologist may supervise testing or perform tests to help assess your health. A pathologist will also examine a tissue biopsy to determine whether it is benign or you have cancer, and shares that information with your primary care doctor. Some pathologists specialize in genetic testing, which can, for example, determine the most appropriate treatment for particular types of cancer. Pathologists also perform autopsies, which not only determine the person’s cause of death, but may also discover more information about the genetic progression of a disease. This discovery can help family members take preventive action for their own health and can aid researchers in developing future treatments.