Emily Reisenbichler, MD, is a pathologist who specializes in diagnosing breast cancers and occasionally examines patient biopsies for bone and soft tissue cancers.
"Breast cancer runs in my family," Dr. Reisenbichler says, "and that's part of the reason I chose to specialize in detecting disease in breast tissue.
Like all pathologists, Dr. Reisenbichler primarily provides doctors with a tissue diagnosis to guide the best treatment pathways for their patients. Often called "a doctor's doctor," pathologists rarely interact directly with patients.
However, Dr. Reisenbichler still remembers the day a patient reached her by phone. "The patient wanted to fully understand her treatment plan. She told me, 'I've talked to different oncologists and they all said they looked at your report, but I don't know who you are,'" Dr. Reisenbichler recalls, and explains that she then helped the patient understand her report. "For each patient biopsy, I say to myself, 'If this were my mother, which treatment would I hope she receives?'"
As an assistant professor of pathology at Yale School of Medicine, Dr. Reisenbichler also conducts research. Her current interest centers on how to better identify slow-growing cancers in patients so they may avoid aggressive surgery.