Art News USA World News

Tracey Emin says she ‘could have been dead by Christmas’ after bladder cancer diagnosis

Artist Tracey Emin has revealed that she feared being “dead by Christmas” after a cancer diagnosis earlier this year.

Emin was diagnosed with bladder cancer at the end of June, undergoing major surgery less than a month later.

Speaking to the BBC ahead of a new exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, she said: “I was really unwell for a long time, but I didn’t know what was wrong with me. And I kept going backwards and forwards to the doctors, different things, tests and everything, because I had something wrong with my bladder.”

“It was just always presumed that that was what the problem was. That I had urinary tract infections, kidney infections, which I did. But the reason why I had them is because I had full-blown cancer.”

Emin’s cancer is currently in remission, though the artist said in the same interview that things could have easily taken a turn for the worse.

“And then people would have been coming to this show, and I would have been dead. It would have been so Tracey, right?” she joked. “I just didn’t want that.”

Emin said she has not been physically well enough to paint since undergoing treatment, although is set to return to the studio within a “few months”.