Mother-of-six saves her own life by coughing up a cancerous tumour
Claire Osborn said a consultant told her: 'It appears you have coughed up your cancer. Congratulations.'
A mother has revealed how she accidentally saved her own life when she coughed up – an inoperable cancerous tumour.
Claire Osborn, 37, felt a tickle in her throat moments before hacking up a 2cm long heart-shaped lump into a tissue.
She took the growth to her GP and a biopsy revealed it was metastatic adenocarcinoma – an aggressive throat and mouth cancer.
Claire was initially given a 50 per cent chance of survival but further tests revealed there was no trace of any other cancer in her entire body.
Doctors believe the tumour grew on a 'stalk' at the back of her throat which dislodged during her coughing fit.
Mother-of-six Claire said: 'The consultant turned round to me and said 'It appears you have coughed up your cancer. Congratulations.'
'I was totally flabbergasted. I couldn't believe a coughing fit had saved my life.
'If I hadn't coughed it up, the tumour would have grown and almost certainly spread to my other organs.'
Claire was at home with her family in Coventry when she felt a scratching sensation in her throat on October 11 last year.
After five minutes coughing she felt 'something dislodge' and fly out of her mouth.
She said: 'I put a tissue over my mouth and felt something fleshy come up my throat.
'It looked like a strip of liver. I didn't really think too much about it and threw it away.
'The next day I was in the car with my son and the same thing happened again but this time the lump was much bigger, about 2cm long.
'I knew something was very wrong so I went straight to my GP who sent the tissue sample away for tests.'
All gone: Claire had first been told to prepare for chemotherapy
Claire went on holiday for two weeks with her lorry driver husband Kevin, 53, and when she returned home in November, doctors told she had cancer.
She said: 'I was devastated. The consultant told me the tissue sample was cancerous and I probably had more tumours in my body.
'They said the cancer was inoperable and I should be prepared for chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
'I just thought I was going to die. The mortality rate for this cancer is quite high, about 50 per cent, so I started saving for my funeral.'
But doctors at University Hospital Coventry were stunned when a PET scan – which detects tumours located in other areas of the body – came back negative.
A CT scan also revealed Claire was clear of tumours and on November 29 she had a small operation to remove cancerous cells from the back of her tongue.
Head and Neck surgeon Gary Walton, who treated Claire, said: 'This patient basically coughed up her cancerous tumour.
'The tissue which she coughed up was tested and there was a malignancy.
'It was suspected that this could have been part of a tumour elsewhere in the body but scans showed she was clear.
'It is very uncommon to cough up cancer, but she did it.
'We suspect the tumour 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 tumour.'
Full-time mother Claire added: 'Anyone with a persistent cough should get checked out as a precaution.'