Mesothelioma is a neoplastic growth of cells lining the chest cavity, ie the pleura. The most well known causative factor is asbestos exposure.
Patients with mesothelioma frequently present with recurrent bloody pleural effusions. Even with repeated thoracentesis, diagnosis can prove difficult. If thoracentesis does not provide a diagnosis even with multiple procedures, pleural biopsy is usually required. We find this most advantageous often times performed via a thoracoscopy, at which time not only can a diagnostic biopsy be performed but therapy in the form of pleural drainage and pleurodesis can be performed as well.
Other therapies such as radiation and chemotherapy have limited roles as well as surgical therapy of mesothelioma. These, however, do upon occasion have a place in the therapy of mesothelioma.