Dr. Abraham Lebenthal is a thoracic surgeon who specializes in caring for veterans who have been diagnosed with Mesothelioma. He has a mesothelioma practice at both the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Boston VA Hospital. He is an active member of the International Mesothelioma Program (IMP). He splits his time evenly between these 2 leading Harvard teaching institutions. Dr. Lebenthal is currently interim chief of thoracic surgery and is the director of the Mesothelioma Program at the Boston VA Hospital.
Dr. Lebenthal went to medical school in Israel where he received his medical degree at Hadassah Medical School in 1993. He then served as a medical officer in the Israeli Army (light infantry and special forces). He completed his residency at Hadessah Elin Karem Hebrew University Hospital, in 2003. Avi completed a four-year fellowship of cardiothoracic surgery and minimally invasive thoracic surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Upon completion of fellowship, he spent 2-1/2 years at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. There he built a mesothelioma center. In 2010, Dr. Lebenthal was recruited back to Boston by his mentor Dr. David J. Sugarbaker, a giant in the field of mesothelioma, in order to establish a national mesothelioma program within the VA network.
Dr. Lebenthal prefers to be addressed by his nickname ‘Avi’ because he wants to break down barriers. He is one of only a few surgeons will offer radical cytoreductive surgery for mesothelioma within the VA network. One of his many passions has been taking care of the Mesothelioma patients who are veterans. Dr. Lebenthal prior military service helps him identify with other veterans who have also served their country and now seek his care. He believes that since military veterans make up 30% of the Mesothelioma population it would be inconceivable if great care for this ‘service connected disease’ was not offered within the VA network.Thus he built a program at the Boston VA which is unique within the VA system. Utilizing the network, veterans from all over the country travel and receive expert care not available elsewhere. Frequently travel and housing is covered by the VA. Patients initially undergo ‘phone triage’. He personally screens veterans with mesothelioma by phone and then reviews imaging and pathology slides, prior to bringing them to Boston for surgical evaluation. He is committed to his patients and their families. He has been known to spend endless amounts of time with patients whether it be face to face or giving his cell phone number so his patients can reach him any time of day. His commitment and dedication to veterans with mesothelioma has enabled him to build a national program within the VA network. At the VA, he has treated patients from the majority of the 50 states including Alaska, Hawaii and even Europe. Dr. Lebenthal is currently in the process of opening a number of clinical trials that will give veterans better access to cutting edge medical therapy.
Mesothelioma care is a team support, not a one man show. The Brigham and Women’s Hospital as well as the Boston VA have a proven track record, tackling this challenge.
Dr. Lebenthal is humble and realizes he is one portion of the medical team and realizes what a Mesothelioma center has to offer.
Dr. Lebenthal’s resume and experience are very impressive, but the attribute that patients and families and other members of the team associate with him is his passion. He is passionate about his patients and taking the best possible care of them. The mesothelioma community is fortunate that an experienced surgeon is leading the charge in taking care of our veterans.
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