Malini Harigopal, MD, is a pathologist who specializes in diagnosing breast cancer. During her breast fellowship training at Weill Cornell Medical center, she became interested in solving the most complicated breast cancer cases.
Dr. Harigopal understands how traumatic a diagnosis of breast cancer can be for patients. Even though pathologists do not routinely interact with patients, she makes herself available to answer any questions patients may have about their diagnosis. She also stresses the importance of pathologists with expertise in breast pathology who are highly specialized in reading breast specimens. She believes a deep understanding and experience in various breast diseases is absolutely necessary for accurate diagnosis. "I remember reviewing a patient's case where she had received a breast cancer diagnosis," Dr. Harigopal says. "But after looking closely at the biopsy, it was clear she did not have cancer." These cases highlight the importance of a second review of potentially malignant lesions in order to avoid over-diagnosis and unnecessary treatment.
At Yale School of Medicine, Dr. Harigopal is an associate professor of pathology and director of breast pathology. She has been recognized for her work in breast cancer and in human papillomavirus (HPV) research in cytology specimens.