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Abraham Lebenthal, M.D.

Dr. Lebenthal is a specialist in pleural mesothelioma and works at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, hospitals with which he is affiliated. His current position is as the director of Minimally Invasive Thoracic Surgery in the VA Boston Healthcare System-West Roxbury Campus. He is also an instructor in surgery at Harvard Medical School.

His work in the Veterans Administration (VA) healthcare system is especially important. Dr. Lebenthal is one of few mesothelioma specialists working for the VA, and it is military veterans, especially U.S. Navy veterans, who have suffered most from pleural mesothelioma. He brings his decades of experience working with this disease to help treat and care for suffering American veterans and other patients.

Education and Early Career

Dr. Lebenthal is from Israel and completed his studies at Hebrew University, including his medical degree at the Hebrew University Medical School. He stayed in Jerusalem after earning his medical degree and completed his general surgery residency at the university’s medical center. He then moved to New York and spend one year learning advanced laparoscopic surgical techniques while working at Mount Sinai Medical Center. He completed his fellowships in cardiothoracic surgery and minimally invasive thoracic surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. He has since returned to Israel as part of a team to teach surgeons there how to perform minimally invasive esophagectomies.

Career in Boston

Dr. Lebenthal chose to stay in Boston and now has privileges at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute while holding the position of director of minimally invasive thoracic surgery at the VA hospital and as an instructor at Harvard Medical School. He has come to specialize in esophageal cancer, diseases that occur at the gastro-esophageal junction, and lung cancer along with mesothelioma.

Veterans and Mesothelioma

Dr. Lebenthal specializes in the treatment of pleural mesothelioma, but unlike other mesothelioma specialists, his particular interest is in working with veterans. Many veterans of the U.S. Military were exposed to asbestos during their years of service. Asbestos was used heavily in the military and is known now to be a leading cause of mesothelioma.

Members of the U.S. Navy were put at particular risk of asbestos exposure and a resulting mesothelioma diagnosis because of how much asbestos was used in Navy ships. The material was used because it was good at preventing the spread of fires and because it added lightweight strength to ships. Veterans paid the price, though, and when working with and around asbestos, inhaled the fibers and became sick as a result. Rates of mesothelioma are higher in veterans than in any other population.

Dr. Lebenthal has worked at the Boston VA hospital for many years and is now the director of the hospital’s mesothelioma program. It was his time spent working as a physician in the Israeli army, he has stated, that has led him to have such a strong connection to U.S. veterans and that gave him a desire to treat them. He specializes in treating these patients with minimally invasive surgical procedures, which he says are easier to recover from and gives patients a better quality of life. He also treats veterans with mesothelioma using video-assisted surgery and photodynamic therapy, a new and innovative treatment that uses light to target tumors.


In addition to his strong commitment to patient care, improving surgical techniques, and teaching students, Dr. Lebenthal has also completed research studies and co-authored a number of papers published in medical journals. His research as included better communications with veterans who may have mesothelioma, case studies, obesity and surgical outcomes, and the advancement of esophageal surgical techniques.

Awards, Honors, and Professional Organizations

Dr. Lebenthal is a devoted and dedicated physician and surgeon and has expanded his expertise to include several difficult areas of medicine. His work has earned him recognition, respect, and admiration among his peers and his patients. His veteran patients put particular trust in him and benefit from his care and experience. Dr. Lebenthal has won the Compassionate Doctors Award and the Golden Heart Award several years in a row. He is also a member of several professional organizations including the Israeli Surgical Society, the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons, and the American Medical Society.

All patients with mesothelioma are lucky to have Dr. Lebenthal on their side, helping to fight against this terrible disease. It is his work with veterans, though, that makes the biggest difference. If you are a veteran and admitted to the VA healthcare system, consider requesting to work with Dr. Lebenthal. He takes great care and uses the best most advanced techniques in treating veterans with mesothelioma.

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