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Thoracentesis - A procedure which removes fluid from the pleural cavity (the body cavity containing the lungs) through a needle inserted into the chest (between the ribs). Fluid build-up around the lungs (or pleural effusion) can have a wide variety of causes, including lung cancer, breast cancer, and lymphoma. By analyzing pleural fluid under a microscope to determine the presence of cancerous cells, thoracentesis can play a role in cancer diagnosis and staging. In addition, by draining fluid that surrounds the lungs, thoracentesis can help the patient breathe better.
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