The cancer researcher, doctor and runner Johan Hartman on running for one's life

The expression "run for your life" takes on a whole new meaning during the meeting with the doctor, cancer researcher and runner Johan Hartman. In an interview with the Rosa Bandet-loppet (the Pink Ribbon-race), he describes how running both helps to prevent cancer and improves the quality of life.

Johan Hartman, Professor in Tumor Pathology at Karolinska Institutet, could have shown up for the interview with Rosa Bandet-loppet wearing doctor's coat or latex gloves. Instead, he appears in training clothes and running shoes. The reason is that Johan sees the life-saving properties of running beyond the physical benefits. To him, running is also central to the quality of life and to a healthy work-life-balance.

How would you describe yourself?
My name is Johan Hartman and I am a Professor in Tumor Pathology. In my role as a doctor, I am involved with cancer diagnosis as a pathologist with a focus on breast cancer. As a researcher at Karolinska Institutet, I also work with predicting future diagnostics and with trying to understand which patients will benefit from what  treatment.

What would you say to motivate others to exercise?
I would say that ample evidence show that exercise helps to prevent cancer. All regular exercise is good in this respect, but many indications show that cardiovascular training on a slightly more intense level, such as running, helps to prevent cancer even more.

In addition to preventing cancer, data also show that exercise is important for patients who have had breast cancer. Studies show that regular exercise makes individuals who have undergone cancer treatment feel better and that it protects them from recurrence - even though it can be incredibly tough.

What motivates you to run?
For me, running is important to be able to do research and to be able to work as a doctor. I believe that this desire to feel good is an important driving force for maintaining regular exercise, and that exercise in turn contributes to the enjoyment of life.

What research projects are particularly important right now?
All cancer research is important and we need all research we can get to understand the underlying cancer mechanisms. One area of particular importance to me is cancer diagnostics - how we can become better at diagnosing cancer early and how we can get help from Artificial Intelligence (AI) in improving the diagnosis and be able to better understand what patient should get what treatment.

What message would you forward to the participants who will soon be toeing the starting line in the Rosa Bandet-loppet?
Since Rosa Bandet-loppet will this year be carried out on all over Sweden through the digital race Rosa Bandet-loppet@Hemma - and since all participants are parts of an important community in the fight against cancer - my message is "you are not running alone"!

The Pink Ribbon Race thanks Johan Hartman for his contributions to the world's foremost cancer research. Read more about Johan Hatrman and his research team on

Do you want to support Johan and other Swedish cancer researchers in the fight to defeat cancer? In that case, enter the Rosa Bandet race - for each start fee, SEK 100 goes in full to the Cancer Foundation.


About Rosa Bandet-loppet
Rosa Bandet-loppet is an annual running party dedicated to the fight against cancer. The race, which is part of A Swedish Classic Short, marks the start of the Brest Cancer Awareness Month in October and gathers participants from all over Sweden for togetherness, hope, public health and support for Swedish cancer research.

This year you can choose to run the race on Lidingö on the 3 of October and at home through RosaBandet-loppet@Hemma which is carried out throughout October. Regardless of which race you register for, SEK100 is donated to the Swedish Cancer Foundation (Cancerfonden).

About Rosa Bandet-loppet>
Register for Rosa Bandet-loppet>
Register for Rosa Bandet-loppet@Hemma>

tcs TATA Consultancy Services