Dr. Abraham Lebenthal is a thoracic surgeon who plays an integral role in the prestigious International Mesothelioma Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
Dr. Abraham Lebenthal worked closely for several years with pleural mesothelioma treatment pioneer Dr. David Sugarbaker, who built the International Mesothelioma Program before leaving in 2014.
Lebenthal, who once served in the Israeli military, splits his time between the VA Boston Healthcare System and the nearby Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
“I have a deep admiration and respect for people who served in the military,” he said. “It’s part of my background. As in war, we don’t leave our brothers behind.”
He talks often about developing a bond and a trust with each patient he serves, making it part of his personalization of mesothelioma treatment.
“At the end of the day, we’re going into a really big battle together [with mesothelioma]. The stakes are high,” he said. “The most important thing is if they trust me. If they believe in me.”
Lebenthal is fluent in Hebrew, Spanish, Arabic and English. He was born in Jerusalem but grew up in the United States.
He is aggressive in his treatment approach, which requires a specialist who has the experience and knows the intricacies of mesothelioma.
Lebenthal graduated from the Hebrew University Hadassah Medical School and spent six years in active duty with the Israeli military.
He did a clinical fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, which is part of the Harvard Medical School. He spent three years at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia before returning to Boston to rejoin Sugarbaker and his program.
Lebenthal is proficient in minimally invasive surgery for cancers of the lung and esophagus.
He also has experience with video-assisted thoracic surgery, therapeutic endoscopy and advanced laparoscopy.
“One of the things you learn in the military is: There is no such thing as ‘I can’t.’ You learn to make good decisions,” he said. “You learn to take responsibility and ownership. And you better have precise execution. It’s the same in medicine.”
Lebenthal is a big believer in the multidisciplinary approach to treat mesothelioma.
And he’s the first to tell a patient that the surgeon is just one part of the treatment equation, working closely with an oncologist, a radiologist, a pulmonologist and a number of other team members who work regularly with the disease.
“You’re only as good as your team,” he said. “And I feel privileged to work with the best.”
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