Tracey Emin reveals she has had cancer operation

·2-min read
Tracey Emin in 2019
Emin has a major exhibition at the Royal Academy from next month

Artist Tracey Emin had an operation this summer after a cancerous tumour was found in her bladder, she has said.

Emin, 57, was diagnosed in the spring, had surgery two months ago and is now in remission, she told Artnet.

And she told The Times: "It was squamous cell cancer, which means it's really rapid, really aggressive. It's known as bad cancer."

Emin was nominated for the Turner Prize in 1999 and is one of Britain's best-known and most celebrated artists.

Artnet said she had been working on a semi-abstract painting early in lockdown that had been "keeping her up at night". Only after her diagnosis did she realise it resembled her bladder.

"It's exactly the same as my bladder with the tumour in it, before I knew I had the cancer - it's brilliant!" she said.

But she said she was currently too weak to return to making art. "Yesterday, I was crying because I wanted to paint and I didn't have the energy to do it," she said.

In March she posted a video on Instagram in which she said she had not been in her studio because she had been unwell.

What is bladder cancer?

  • About 10,000 people are diagnosed every year and it's the tenth most common cancer in the UK, according to the NHS

  • It is more common in older adults, and in men

  • The most common symptom is blood in urine - and while most people with blood in their urine won't have bladder cancer, it's important to get checked

  • Some people are treated by having the tumour removed and having chemotherapy or immunotherapy drugs

  • Some require a cystectomy - in women this involves removing the bladder, urethra, ovaries, uterus and the upper part of the vagina

Emin, who is based in Margate, Kent, is known for such installations as her unmade bed and the tent Everyone I Have Ever Slept With.

An exhibition of her work is due to open in Brussels on Friday, and her recent paintings will be shown at the Royal Academy in London from 15 November alongside works she has chosen by Edvard Munch.

Artnet said Emin's operation involved removing many of her reproductive organs. She told the website she had "half my body chopped out, including half my vagina".

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