A Pleural Specialist in the VA

Mesothelioma is so rare that patients need to see a specialist. A regular oncologist isn’t up-to-date on current life-saving treatments. Dr. Avi Lebenthal is a pleural mesothelioma surgeon. The unique thing about Dr. Lebenthal is that he specializes in treating veterans with mesothelioma.

Many veterans were exposed to asbestos while serving in the military. Dr. Lebenthal is one of two mesothelioma specialists in the VA Healthcare System. Dr. Lebenthal practices in the Boston, Massachusetts area. He sees patients at the Boston VA Medical Center and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Did you know?

Dr. Lebenthal was a combat physician in the Israeli Army. His experience as a military physician gives him a special connection to men and women veterans. Especially those who were exposed to asbestos during their military career.

As a veteran, Dr. Lebenthal understands the medical issues many veterans are forced to deal with after asbestos exposure in the military. He channels his own personal commitment to care for veterans who have mesothelioma.

“As an officer, I learned the importance of service, dedication and commitment to a larger cause.”

— Dr. Avi Lebenthal 

Becoming a World-Renowned Mesothelioma Specialist

Dr. Avi Lebenthal undertook his medical training at the Hebrew University, located in Jerusalem, Israel. He graduated in 1993. He began his medical training shortly thereafter.

He performed his residency training at the Hadassah Ein Karem University in 2003. Dr. Lebenthal furthered his medical training in the United States. He received training at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. During his training, Dr. Lebenthal studied general surgery in order to be able to care for a variety of surgical patients.

Following his training in general surgery, Dr. Lebenthal undertook a fellowship at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. He remained in the Boston area and became Board Certified in general surgery in 2004. He set up a practice in Boston, where he continues to see patients.

Dr. Avi Lebenthal is the director of the mesothelioma program at the Boston VA Healthcare System. He is fluent in several languages, including English, Arabic, Hebrew, and Spanish.

He uses his experience as a former battalion physician in the Israeli Army to reach out to American veterans. He is also a member of the International Mesothelioma Program, which helps in putting together research efforts worldwide to treat the disease.

Treating Veterans With Mesothelioma

Dr. Avi Lebenthal is the only mesothelioma specialist in the VA on the east coast. He specializes in using minimally invasive surgery. He feels this approach is better for patients with mesothelioma. The recovery time with less invasive procedures is shorter after surgery. This gives patients a better quality of life after surgery.

Dr. Lebenthal has trained in a variety of therapeutic approaches to treating mesothelioma.

Here are some ways Dr. Lebenthal treats pleural mesothelioma:

  • Pleurectomy with decortication (P/D) surgery: This is a type of surgery that does not remove much of the healthy lung tissue. Instead, the surgeon removes any visible evidence of mesothelioma in the chest and lung. He also removes the lining of the diseased lung. By sparing the lungs, patients often have a better quality of life.
  • Extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP): This was the first effective surgery for Pleural Mesothelioma patients. During the procedure, the surgeon removes the diseased lung. He also removes areas in the chest cavity where he can find tumors. Surgeons may use this procedure if they feel a P/D can’t effectively remove tumors from the space between the lobes of the lung.
  • Video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS): This is when an endoscope is inserted into the pleural space through tiny incisions in the thorax. The endoscope has a tiny video camera at the end of a tube that also has surgical instruments that assist in removing various types of lung cancer, including mesothelioma.

Aside from the above surgical procedures, Dr. Lebenthal uses multimodal treatment. Multimodal treatment is a combination of surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy. It may include experimental treatments too. There are several ways to combine these treatments and every doctor is different. Yet, it is accepted by almost all Mesothelioma Specialists that multimodal treatment is the best way to extend life expectancy.

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Using VA Benefits to See Dr. Lebenthal

VA benefits can pay for mesothelioma treatments through the Boston VA. This is substantially less costly than treatment available at a non-veterans hospital. Oftentimes, VA health care is free.

You can see Dr. Lebenthal even if you don’t live near Boston. Dr. Lebenthal has a team of advocates that can help you.

The VA system in Boston treats many patients with mesothelioma who do not live in the immediate area. Patients may stay in special housing for out-of-state patients. Dr. Lebenthal has received several awards for making an effort to help out-of-state veterans get specialized Mesothelioma Treatment.

“As a nation, the most valuable resource we have is our people. Morally and ethically, we are obliged to provide them with the best possible care, especially our veterans.”

— Dr. Avi Lebenthal 

Getting Connected to Dr. Avi Lebenthal

Many mesothelioma veterans have developed a profound respect for Dr. Avi Lebenthal. Not only is he a top-notch specialist, but he also served in the Israeli military. He can relate to veterans in a way that most mesothelioma doctors can’t. Dr. Lebenthal is also dedicated to treating veterans coming through the Boston VA Hospital.

Veterans choose Dr. Lebenthal because:

  • He is a top pleural mesothelioma surgeon.
  • He is part of a multidisciplinary team of mesothelioma specialists.
  • He works in the VA Healthcare System.

If you are looking for a mesothelioma specialist in the VA, Dr. Lebenthal could be right for you. Though he’s located in Boston, it doesn’t matter where you live. Veterans can from anywhere in the country can get treatment at the Boston VA. File for mesothelioma veterans benefits now.


The Mesothelioma Veterans Center has no affiliation with and is not endorsed or sponsored by Dr. Avi Lebenthal. The contact information above is listed for informational purposes only. You have the right to contact Dr. Avi Lebenthal Directly.

Veterans Support Team
Christopher Dryfoos PhotoWritten by:

Contributing Author

Christopher Dryfoos is a journalist and member of the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA). As the grandson of the U.S. Navy’s first forensic pathologist, he aims to help veterans with mesothelioma access needed care.

View Sources

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. VA Boston Healthcare System. “Asbestos and Mesothelioma.” Retrieved from: https://www.boston.va.gov/services/surgical/Asbestos_and_Mesothelioma.asp. Accessed on September 21st, 2017.

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