A British woman says she inadvertently saved her own life by coughing up an inoperable cancerous tumor.
According to The Daily Mail, Claire Osborne, 37, felt a tickle in her throat on Oct. 11. The next day, she hacked up a 2-centimeter (0.8-inch) lump of tissue that she said looked like "a strip of liver."
She took the specimen to her doctor, and a biopsy revealed it was metastatic adenocarcinoma — an aggressive throat and mouth cancer.
Osborne, who has six children, was initially given a 50-50 chance of survival. "I was devastated. The consultant told me the tissue sample was cancerous and I probably had more tumors in my body," she told the Daily Mail. "They said the cancer was inoperable and I should be prepared for chemotherapy and radiation therapy."
But doctors at University Hospital Coventry were stunned when a PET scan, which can be used to spot tumors in the body, found none. A CT scan also revealed Osborne was cancer-free except for a few cancer cells on the back of her tongue, which were removed in a simple operation.
"The consultant turned round to me and said 'It appears you have coughed up your cancer. Congratulations,'" Osborne said.
Gary Walton, the head and neck surgeon who treated Osborne, said, "It is very uncommon to cough up cancer, but she did it.
"We suspect the tumor grew on a stalk at the back of her mouth which is very difficult to detect. Somehow she dislodged this and the stalk snapped and she coughed up the tumor."