"They told me there was a foreign body in my stomach and I just panicked thinking it was cancer," he said. "You can imagine my shock and relief when they told me it was the acupuncture needle."
Xu said he hasn't received acupuncture treatments since 1974, when he suffered stomach pains while in the Army. He said the needle must have broken before it could be removed by the Army doctor.
Dr. Ye Lin, who removed the more than 1-inch-long needle, said the discovery was "quite a surprise for all of us."
"The needle which was stuck in his intestines had turned black and was very thick because of decades of oxidation," the doctor said.
He said the needle had likely been moving around inside the man's body for years before it ended up in his intestines.
Xu said his "pains have completely gone."
"And I don't have cancer so I'm a winner all round," he said.