A CLOSE run-in with cancer has prompted Simmo’s Ice Cream Dunsborough owner Garth Simpson to promote men’s health throughout his local region.
Mr Simpson was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2010 and underwent surgery to remove tumours from his prostate in 2012.
“It was a real shock, it really hit home and put things in perspective,” he said.
“I considered myself a relatively healthy man and I wasn’t even 50 at the time – I had no symptoms so it was really alarming.”
After having treatment for the cancer, Mr Simpson saw a physiotherapist to reduce the post-surgery side effects.
Recent research from the Australian Physiotherapy Association shows that tailored pelvic floor exercises can shorten the time and severity of men’s incontinence post-surgery.
Association President Marcus Dripps said up to 95 per cent of men will experience incontinence after surgery, yet most men can recover with the assistance of a pelvic floor physiotherapist.
“Prostate cancer is the second most fatal cancer affecting men, yet there’s still a taboo about the topic and many men are embarrassed to speak about the side effects of surgery to treat the disease,” Mr Dripps said.
“Many men believe that Mother Nature will take its course in post-surgery recovery and return them to full continence, however this is not always the case - for about 5 per cent of men, incontinence will persist a year later.
“New physiotherapy research shows that with the help of a pelvic floor physiotherapist, men can return to full health sooner and regain a good quality of life."
Mr Simpson has now teamed his personal experience with his business to raise awareness for men’s health.
He has created a blue “resurrection” flavoured ice-cream that he uses to start conversations about men’s health with customers.
“I use the flavour to help tell my story to others and hopefully inspire them to stay in good health,” he said.
“Cancer especially can be a silent killer so regular checkups are a big thing.”
But the rum and coconut flavoured ice-cream has a touch of larrikin humour behind it.
“Resurrection is a bit of a play on words for ‘erection’ and the ice-cream is served with an M&M on top to symbolise a Viagra pill,” Mr Simpson joked.
“It’s a bit out there, but the whole point is to get men to come forward and talk about health issues, instead of avoiding it.”
Mr Simpson has used a number of platforms to promote men’s health, including local radio stations.
“I’ve given a few speeches here and there but I usually enjoy just chatting to people in general,” he said.
“The best feedback I’ve had came after doing a session on RadioWest.
“One woman heard my story and convinced her husband to go for a check-up. It turned out he did have prostate cancer and he got the treatment he needed.