Malignant mesothelioma is a cancer of the lining of the chest wall and lungs. It is usually caused by exposure to asbestos, even for a short period of time, and it occurs many years (even 30 or 40) after the initial exposure took place. Around 2,300 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma in the UK each year.Surgery can play an important role in the treatment of malignant mesothelioma in confirming the diagnosis, assessing the spread of the tumour and in the control of symptoms.