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Cytopathology Services

**Please check the ‘Cellular Pathology News’ page for the introduction of new tests and any updates.**

Diagnostic cytopathology is the diagnosis of disease at the cellular level by examining single cells or small clusters of cells. It has become an important part of cancer diagnosis over the past few decades. The majority of specimens in this category are taken as part of clinical investigations to include or exclude the possibility of cancer.

The method of cell sampling will depend upon the site to be examined. In many cases cells will naturally exfoliate, in others assisted exfoliation may be required with the use of brushes. For lesions that are less accessible, fine needle aspiration (FNA) cytology may be used with or without the assistance of imaging devices such as ultrasound or X-ray guidance.

The Cytology Department at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital employs 8 staff and processes over 4000 diagnostic cytology specimens.

The laboratory provides the following services:

  1. The preparation and diagnosis of diagnostic cytology specimens for cancer
  2. Fine needle aspiration (FNA) rapid onsite evaluation service (ROSE) for head & neck, thyroid, Upper GI/HPB and endobronchial samples.
  3. Post vasectomy semen analysis (PVSA) service
  4. Crystal analysis service

Following the implementation of Epic in October 2020 the department now operates a paperless service, this includes how results are issued. For details please see our results page.

The laboratory aims to comply with The Royal College of Pathologists Key Performance Indicator (KPI 6.4) for Cellular Pathology reporting turnaround times with 90% of all cases reported within 10 calendar days.

Please note: Fresh cytology samples are disposed of within 48hrs of reporting unless otherwise requested with the exception of PVSA and joint fluid specimens which are disposed at the time of reporting.

PLEASE NOTE: For contractual purposes each request accepted by the laboratory for examination(s) shall be considered an agreement.

Opening Hours

Monday to Friday – 9.00am – 5.00pm

Weekends and Bank Holidays – Closed

PLEASE NOTE:  There is no on-call service provision.


Leah Riley Cellular Pathology Laboratory Manager 01392 406403
Dr Claire Murray Lead Consultant Pathologist for Diagnostic Cytology 01392 402907
Tracey Stevenson Consultant Biomedical Scientist/ Cytology Laboratory Manager 01392 402985
General Enquiries



01392 402991



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