A series of new Psychology Today articles about men deal with some of the same issues women have. First up? Fertility: Male fertility decreases decade by decade, especially over 35; men 40 and older are nearly six times more likely to have offspring with autism than men under age 30. Plus, a study found that increased age in a father predicted increased cases of schizophrenia in his children. "In short, the biggest genetic threat to society may not be infertility but fertile old men," says University of Wisconsin in Madison geneticist James F. Crow. And memo to Mick Jagger: At the age of 60, 85 percent of sperm is clinically abnormal.
What's more, 1,300 males get breast cancer every year. 400 die. Sure, it's rare, but it happens. Then there's the story of Congressman Dean Gallo, who helped launch the Cancer Institute of New Jersey in the '90s. He had backaches, urination problems and later, decreased sex drive — and when he finally went to a doctor, it turned out he had prostate cancer that had metastasized to his bones. Gallo was given six months to live. (He fought the cancer with surgery, radiation, experimental chemotherapy, etc and lived two and a half more years before he died.) The problem? Men are strangers to their health. They're three times more likely than women to avoid doctors. We live in an world with pink-ribboned breast cancer awareness for women, magazines full of stories about women's health, commercials for HPV vaccines for women. "Health" ads for men tend to be about erectile dysfunction, which is not exactly lethal.
So why don't men drag themselves to the doctor? How could a congressman build a cancer center but ignore his symptoms? If you're a woman who loves a man — be it father, brother, husband or son — how can you make him care about his health?