ASTOUNDED surgeons have removed a two-inch fir tree growing inside a man's lung.
Doctors thought Artyom Sidorkin had cancer when he started coughing up blood and complaining of agonising chest pains.
But as they operated to remove a tumour, the medics were amazed to find the perfectly formed spruce thriving inside the lung.
Surgeon Vladimir Kamashev said: "I thought I was hallucinating.
"I asked my assistant to have a look, 'Come and see this - we've got a fir tree here'. He nodded in shock.
"I blinked three times as I thought I was seeing things."
Before making the shock discovery, the doctors had been certain the man had a tumour.
Kamashev, of Izhevsk Hospital, in central Russia, added: "We were 100 per cent sure.
"We did X-rays and found what looked exactly like a tumour. I had seen hundreds before, so we decided on surgery."
He believes 28-year-old Artyom breathed in a tiny seed which then began growing in his lung. His team think the sharp pains he felt were the plant's needle-like leaves digging in.
Artyom, who is recuperating after a piece of lung was removed, said: "They told me my coughing blood was not caused by any disease.
"It was the needles poking the capillaries. It really hurt a lot.
"But I never felt like I had an alien object inside of me."
The piece of lung with the little fir tree has been preserved for further study.
Meanwhile, an Albanian woman was recovering yesterday after a bullet was found in her cheek 12 years after she was shot.
Mrike Rrucaj, then 28, was covered in blood when she was hit in 1997 during the unrest in the Balkan country.
At the time, a doctor told her the bullet had already come out and simply cleaned up the wound.
She went around with the bullet lodged below her cheekbone without noticing it until she collapsed in pain last week.
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