Not cancer, but small traffic cone

A man was rushed to hospital for tests when an X-ray presented a dark mass on his lung

A British man is breathing simpler after specialists verified that a speculated lung tumor was really a Playmobil activity cone.

The Playmobil toy sat unnoticed in the man's body for 40 years, according to medical experts who published the case study in the British Medical Journal.

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.

Medics suspected the patient - a long-term smoker - had a tumour when scans showed a tumour on his lung.

At 46 years old, the patient consulted a doctor about a chronic cough that was concerning him. Instead, they found a tiny Playmobil plastic traffic cone lodged in the man's airways - leading to a diagnosis called tracheobronchial foreign body (TFB) aspiration.

A bronchoscopy was carried out to help doctors diagnose his condition.

The handyman added that he "regularly played with and even aspirated (inhaled) the toy pieces during his childhood".

Medicos therefore made a decision to take a look at that nasty something and found a Playmobil traffic cone in the midst of the mess.

Because he was so young when the toy was swallowed, doctors say his airway may have been able to adapt to the toy's presence.

Doctors detail the unique case in the journal BMJ Case Reports.

When a child or adult swallows a foreign object, such as peanuts, bobby pins, screws, braces wires or toys, the majority of the time it will be excreted naturally.

Four months after its removal, his symptoms subsided and his cough had practically vanished.

The doctors said: "On a positive note, his symptoms improved markedly and he finally found his long-lost Playmobil traffic cone in the very last place he would look". Often, the children exhibit the same symptoms.

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.