When is a lung biopsy necessary for your asbestos case?

By Treven Pyles

Posted on July 14th, 2017

Your doctor can diagnose an asbestos-related lung disease based on the results of tests such as a chest X-ray or chest CT scan. Consequently, you do not have to undergo a lung biopsy to request compensation from asbestos trust funds as long as you have another reliable document supporting your diagnosis.

Over 11 million people were exposed to toxic asbestos fibers in their workplace due to the unprecedented prevalence of asbestos in occupational settings between 1940 and 1978. As a consequence of past occupational exposure, the number of new mesothelioma cases has grown dramatically in recent years. Over 100,000 Americans are likely to die of this aggressive form of cancer within the next 40 years. However, mesothelioma is far from being the only disease asbestos can cause.

The inhalation of asbestos fibers may also result in lung cancer and multiple types of non-malignant pulmonary disease. In addition to great physical and emotional distress, people struggling with such terrible illnesses may also experience financial difficulty, since treatment is often incredibly expensive. The average cost of mesothelioma treatment is approximately $84,796.

Claims for asbestos trust funds do not necessarily require a biopsy

Each asbestos trust fund has a series of distinctive requirements for individuals who seek financial compensation. Nevertheless, when it comes to medical criteria, the vast majority of asbestos trust funds ask claimants to base their diagnosis either on a physical exam or on a pathology report.

Therefore, you do not have to undergo a lung biopsy to request compensation from asbestos trust funds as long as you have another reliable document supporting your diagnosis, for instance:

  • chest X-rays
  • low-dose CT scans
  • MRI scans
  • pulmonary function tests
  • blood test results

When is a biopsy report necessary?

Regardless of the technique it implies, a biopsy is still a quite invasive procedure that may cause additional health issues to people who are already struggling with pulmonary disease. If you have a history of asbestos exposure and experience symptoms, only a specialist will be able to tell you whether a lung biopsy is suitable for you.

A biopsy/pathology report is necessary only in the following cases:

  • When you request compensation for other types of cancer. If you have developed a different type of cancer, other than mesothelioma or lung cancer as a result of occupational asbestos exposure, your claim has to be accompanied by a pathology report, for which you will have to undergo a biopsy. Most asbestos trust funds provide financial compensation to asbestos victims suffering from laryngeal, colorectal, stomach, pharyngeal, and esophageal cancer. However, the presence of one of these illnesses by itself is insufficient and will not grant you compensation unless you also have an underlying, non-malignant asbestos-related disease like asbestosis, pleural plaques, or pleural thickening.
  • When families seek compensation for individuals who had not been formally diagnosed during their lifetime. The families of asbestos victims can recover financial compensation by filing a wrongful death claim. While the legal process is very different from submitting a claim to asbestos trust funds, evidence of disease is still a major requirement. If the injured person had not received a proper diagnosis before their death, family members will have to request an autopsy in order to pursue the case. A forensic pathologist will identify the exact asbestos-related diseases they were suffering from by analyzing samples of lung tissue.

Your doctor will diagnose an asbestos-related lung disease based on the results of tests such as a chest X-ray or chest CT scan

A routine X-ray or CT scan may identify pleural plaques. These areas of hyaline fibrous tissue on the surface of pleura are the most common signs of past exposure to asbestos, and indicative of asbestos pleural lung disease.

But pleural plaques aren't a sign that any person can watch out for because they rarely cause symptoms. Physicians recommend that people who were exposed heavily to asbestos should have chest X-rays annually.

CT scans and lung function tests may also be warranted. While these tests cannot detect asbestos fibers, they can reveal health issues that can be better treated in the early stages. Screening should be considered for patients who are now or have been in the past workers involved in:

  • Mining of asbestos or other minerals contaminated with asbestos such as talc and vermiculite
  • Manufacturing of asbestos-containing products
  • Maintenance and repair activities involving direct contact with asbestos-containing products
  • Waste and disposal

Those that have been diagnosed with non-malignant conditions such as:

will need to travel to our Birmingham, AL location for proper evaluation. Our staff, toxicologists, and medical experts offer free of charge local asbestos screenings to victims and their families. You do not need to travel if you were diagnosed with any type of cancer because you have immediate eligibility. Call us now to speak to an attorney about your legal options.

Filing a claim for victims of occupational asbestos exposure

It is crucial to know that as a victim of occupational asbestos exposure, you can recover financial compensation for your injury, whether you suffer from asbestosis or mesothelioma. The 60 operating asbestos trust funds in the U.S. represent the main source of compensation to asbestos victims.

After filing a claim with the asbestos trust fund set up by the company responsible for your illness, you will receive a sum of money that can help you cover the cost of your medical bills and treatment. Nevertheless, since preparing a claim for submission is a very complex process that can easily go off course, it is strongly recommended to have a lawyer specialized in asbestos litigation assist you. One of the numerous advantages of filing your asbestos claim with the help of a lawyer is that they will efficiently take care of the most paperwork for you so that you will be able to continue focusing on your health.

The documents you will need to provide your attorney with before they start working on your asbestos claim include:

Unless it is submitted along with one or multiple medical documents clearly stating that the disease you are suffering from is connected to occupational asbestos exposure, your claim will not be approved.

With over 25 years of experience with asbestos cases, the attorneys at Environmental Litigation Group, P.C. will gladly evaluate your situation and help you obtain the compensation you deserve.