Dear Mr. Dad. My husband’s father had several heart attacks and recently died of prostate cancer. That means he’s in a high risk group and should have regular physicals and screenings. But despite having good insurance, he refuses to make an appointment. I’m worried about him—and our 13-year old son who’s already modeling his behavior on his daddy’s. What can I do?
A: Unfortunately, your husband is far from alone. From the time we’re little boys, we’re conditioned to believe that we’re bulletproof and that showing pain is a sign of weakness. It’s that whole “big boys don’t cry” thing. No wonder only about half as many men as women have a regular physician, and men make one fourth the number of doctor visits.
The results of this lackadaisical attitude are startling: We’re twice as likely to die of heart, lung, and liver diseases. We’re forty percent more likely to die of cancer and 20 percent more likely to die of a stroke. In 1920, women outlived men by an average of one year. Today it’s almost seven.