Your doctor may need to remove a tissue sample from the tumor (a biopsy) or draw fluid (aspirate) from it to confirm it to confirm the diagnosis. This can be done in several ways.

    The simplest way to obtain tissue samples involving making a small incision and placing a flexible tube in the area of the tumor. This is called a thoracoscopy if it is done in the chest area. A laparoscopy is the same procedure, but done in the abdominal cavity. A tube that is that is attached to a video camera is placed so that the doctor can look inside the body. A tissue sample may be taken at the same time. Sometimes, however, a more extensive surgical procedure may be advisable. A thoracotomy can be done to open the chest to take a tissue sample and, if feasible, to remove most or all of the visible tumor. If this procedure is done in the abdominal cavity, it is called a laparotomy.

    At other times, a mediastinoscopy may be done in which a very small incision is made just above the sternum (breast bone) and a tube inserted just behind the breast bone. This lets the doctors look at lymph nodes. This are small, bean-shaped structures that are an important part of the body's immune system, and they contain cells that help your body fight infection as well as cancer. This test will give the doctor more information on the type of cancer and whether it has spread to other areas. The tissue samples taken in these procedures are analyzed by looking at them under a microscope in order to determine whether the tumor is a mesothelioma or some other type of cancer.