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medically speaking

She Coughed Up CANCER (The Most I’ve Coughed Up is Lunch)

Thinking about someone coughing up a cancerous tumor makes me want to cough up the toast I just had for breakfast. Gross.

Claire Osborn, 37, a mother of six in the UK, was minding her own business driving down the road when she “felt a tickle in her throat”. That tickle was a heart-shaped lump of liver-colored tissue. You know it’s not everyday that people cough up liver particles, so doing the right thing she immediately went to the doctor. (I don’t know if I would have recognized what I’d vomited out as part of my liver per say, upon my own inspection—so kudos to her for taking that to her MD!)

“The tests revealed Osborn had metastatic adenocarcinoma – an aggressive form of cancer that likely stemmed from glandular tissue at the back of her mouth. Doctors told her she’d need chemotherapy to kill any remaining cancer and gave her 50-50 odds of surviving, Osborn said.  But when they ran a positron emission tomography (PET) scan to spot the cancer left behind, they found none.

“The consultant turned round to me and said, ‘It appears you have coughed up your cancer. Congratulations,’” Osborn told the Daily Mail. “I was totally flabbergasted. I couldn’t believe a coughing fit had saved my life.””

(Source: here)

Following this Osborn did have a small operation to (double-check) and possibly remove any cancer cells that might have hung around.

The doctor who treated her, Dr. Gary Walton, a head and neck surgeon, said it’s rare for patients to cough up cancer, but not impossible. (I’d say pretty darn rare is more like it!! have YOU ever heard of anyone coughing up CANCER before? I didn’t think so….) Supposedly its fewer than 5 percent of people who “accidently” discover mouth and throat tumors. (Hey five percent is still a lot of people. How are all these people stumbling across their ailments by chance?!) Crazy. But very lucky for her.


About maggie.

Maggie Barnes is a nonprofit and for profit business content specialist / social media consultant; and social sciences web writer interested in everything from psychology and sexuality, to technology, race, and economics. She is passionate about good communication and information accessibility.

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