A mother saved her own life when she coughed up an inoperable cancer tumour.
Claire Osborn, 37, felt a tickle in her throat and hacked up the 2cm long heart-shaped lump into a tissue.
She took the growth to her GP and was given just a 50% of survival after a biopsy revealed it was an aggressive form of mouth and throat cancer.
However, doctors were later stunned when further tests revealed there was no trace of any other cancer in her entire body.
It is believed the tumour grew on a 'stalk' at the back of her throat, which dislodged during the coughing fit.
Mrs Osborn 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."
The mother of six had her first coughing fit after she felt a scratching sensation in her throat on 11 October last year. She hacked up a lump that resembled "a strip of liver" but she "didn't really think too much about it and threw it away".
It was only the next day when a second coughing fit produced a bigger lump that Mrs Osborn suspected something was seriously wrong.
"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."
Two weeks later the 37-year-old returned home from a holiday to be 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 Mrs Osborn's test results came back negative.
Head and Neck surgeon Gary Walton, who treated her, 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 mum Claire is now urging other people suffering from tickly coughs to get them checked by a doctor.
She said: "If I hadn't coughed anything up I wouldn't have thought anything was wrong.
"I could still be walking around today with a tumour in my throat and the only symptom was a cough.
"Anyone with a persistent cough should get checked out as a precaution."
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