Breathing easy: 40yo toy removed from lung op 'cancer' patient

Ray Weaver
September 29, 2017

Baxter had apparently aspirated the toy cone more than four decades earlier.

A man who found a lump on his lungs was relieved to find out it was actually a plastic toy traffic cone.

A 47-year-old man in the United Kingdom was referred to a respiratory clinic after complaining of coughing up yellow mucus and feeling unwell for over a year.

When an X-ray showed a mass on the patient's lung, they thought the most plausible explanation was that it was a tumor given the man's record as a long-term smoker.

But when doctors went in to remove the mass, instead of a tumour they pulled out a small plastic traffic cone that the man had received as part of a birthday gift when he was seven.

But during a bronchoscopy, his doctors didn't detect any signs of cancer.

According to the case study in the British Medical Journal, the patient remembered receiving a Playmobil set for his seventh birthday.

A suspected cancer patient was given the all-clear after doctors discovered a possible tumor was in fact a toy traffic cone lodged "in the very last place he would look". They assume that since it was inhaled into the lining of the patient's lung while he was a child, the lung continued to develop around it as he grew.

'Four months after removal of the tiny traffic cone, his productive cough had nearly entirely settled and a chest X-ray only showed minor residual consolidation'.

"The doctor went in with the camera to start with, and he says 'I can see something, ' " the mail worker told the BBC, as reported by the local Manchester Evening News, "and he has little pincers on the end of his camera".

Although it is not uncommon for kids to swallow or inhale small toy pieces, it is the first time they hear of a case in which symptoms begin to appear after so many years, the health workers wrote. Often, the children exhibit the same symptoms. Doctors wrote in the journal that he may have swallowed it at a young enough age that his airways were able to remodel, making way for the presence of an object that definitely didn't belong there.

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