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Tests to diagnose

You might have one or more of these tests to check whether your symptoms are due to mesothelioma. 

You might have quite a few tests so your specialist can be sure. Mesothelioma can be difficult to diagnose, because many different types of cells can make up a mesothelioma tumour.

Sometimes it can be very difficult for a pathologist (doctor who looks at cells under a microscope) to decide if cells or tissue sampled from your lungs or abdomen are mesothelioma. The cells often look similar to other types of cancer cells, such as other lung cancers or ovarian cancer.


Find out what a chest x-ray is, how you have it and what happens afterwards.


Ultrasound scans use high frequency sound waves to create a picture of a part of the body. See how you have one.

CT scan

Find out how a CT scan can help to diagnose mesothelioma and what happens during the test.

Fluid drainage

Find out how your doctor might drain fluid from around your lungs or tummy (abdomen) to check for signs of cancer.

Thoracoscopy and pleural biopsy

You might have this small operation to check for signs of pleural mesothelioma. See how you have it.

Laparoscopy and biopsy

You might have this small operation to check for signs of peritoneal mesothelioma. See how you have it.

Last reviewed: 
06 Sep 2018
Coronavirus and cancer

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