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Live talk available at the below date and time. The Electrical Industries Charity presents a wellbeing series of inspirational speakers and leading experts in mental health, law, and reliance. The series is uplifting and educational on a range of issues impacting our industry. Format of the series will be a 50-minute virtual presentation followed by 10 minutes of questions and answers facilitated by the Charity CEO, Tessa Ogle.

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Empowering the industry to effectively manage the menopause, giving them key insights into the cause and symptoms, how to alleviate symptoms and gain the empathy required to support
colleagues going through the change!

  • Useful advice around coping with the menopause
  • The cause, symptoms, and facts
  • Lessons into what alleviates and aggravates symptoms.

October 2022To coincide with breast cancer awareness month the Electrical Industries Charity are putting the spotlight on women’s health. We’ll discuss some of the key issues facing women and how we can support women in an industry which is 85% men.

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Ovarian cancer, or cancer of the ovaries, is one of the most common types of cancer in women. The ovaries are a pair of small organs located low in the tummy that are connected to the womb and store a woman's supply of eggs. Ovarian cancer is when abnormal cells in the ovary begin to grow and divide in an uncontrolled way. And eventually form a growth (tumour). If not caught early, cancer cells gradually grow into the surrounding tissues. They may spread to other areas of the body. There are different types of ovarian cancer. The type of ovarian cancer you have depends on the type of cell it starts in.

The ovaries are part of a woman's reproductive system, which is made up of the:

  • Vulva
  • Vagina
  • Womb or uterus (which includes the cervix)
  • Fallopian tubes
  • Ovaries

There are 2 ovaries, one on each side of the body. The ovaries produce an egg each month in women of childbearing age.

The ovaries and fertility:
Women are able to have children between puberty (when the periods start) and the menopause (or change of life, when the periods stop). The age when periods start and stop varies a great deal. In the middle of each menstrual cycle (mid way between periods), one of the ovaries releases an egg. It travels down the fallopian tube to the womb. The lining of the womb gets thicker and thicker, ready to receive a fertilised egg. If the egg is not fertilised by sperm, the thickened lining of the womb is shed as a period. Then the whole cycle begins again.

Ovarian hormones:
The ovaries also produce the female sex hormones. These are:

  • Oestrogen
  • Progesterone

    The ovaries produce these hormones throughout the years when women can become pregnant. The hormones control the menstrual cycle. As you get older and closer to menopause, the ovaries make less and less of these hormones and periods eventually stop.
    Ovarian hormones also help to protect the heart and bones. And maintain brain and immune system health.
    The ovaries produce a small amount of the male hormone testosterone. It is not completely clear what role testosterone has in women. But doctors think it helps with muscle and bone strength. And it may have a role in a woman’s sex drive (libido).
    How common is ovarian cancer
    Around 7,500 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the UK each year. This makes ovarian cancer the 6th most common cancer in women.

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Who gets it?
Your risk of developing ovarian cancer increases as you get older. The risk is greatest in those aged between 75 and 79.
We don't know exactly what causes epithelial ovarian cancer. But some factors may increase or reduce the risk.

Risks and causes:
Your risk of developing ovarian cancer depends on many things including age, genetics, lifestyle and environmental factors.
Anything that can increase your risk of cancer is called a risk factor. Those that lower the risk are called protective factors.
Having one or more risk factors doesn’t mean that you will definitely get ovarian cancer.

Risk factors for ovarian cancer:

The following factors can increase the risk of ovarian cancer:

Getting older:
As with most cancers, ovarian cancer becomes more common as you get older. The risk of ovarian cancer increases steeply from around 45 years and is greatest in those aged between 75 and 79 years.

Inherited faulty genes:
Between 5 and 15 out of 100 ovarian cancers (5 to 15%) are caused by an inherited faulty gene. Inherited genes that increase the risk of ovarian cancer include faulty versions of BRCA1 and BRCA2. Faults in these genes also increase the risk of breast cancer. Having relatives with ovarian cancer does not necessarily mean that you have a faulty inherited gene in the family. The cancers could have happened by chance. But women with a mother or sister diagnosed with ovarian cancer have around 3 times the risk of ovarian cancer compared to women without a family history. If you are worried about your family history of ovarian cancer, speak to your GP. They might refer you to a genetics service.

Previous cancer:
You have an increased risk of ovarian cancer if you've had breast cancer in the past. The risk is higher in women diagnosed with breast cancer at a younger age, and those with oestrogen receptor negative (ER negative) breast cancer. Women who had bowel cancer at a young age have an increased risk of ovarian cancer compared to the general population. The increase in risk of ovarian cancer after previous cancer is likely to be partly due to inherited faulty genes such as BRCA 1 and 2, and Lynch syndrome.

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Using hormone replacement therapy (HRT):
Using HRT after the menopause increases the risk of ovarian cancer. In the UK, 4 in 100 (4%) ovarian cancers are linked to hormone replacement therapy (HRT) use. Remember that the increase in risk is small and HRT is helpful for many women with menopausal symptoms. Talk to your GP about the risks and benefits of taking HRT.

Smoking can increase the risk of certain types of ovarian cancer such as mucinous ovarian cancer. The longer you have smoked, the greater the risk.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classify asbestos as a cause of ovarian cancer.

There is some evidence to link radiation with an increased risk of ovarian cancer. A very small number of ovarian cancer cases may be caused by radiotherapy for a previous cancer.

Medical conditions:
Studies have shown that women with endometriosis or diabetes have an increased risk of ovarian cancer. In diabetics, the increase in risk might be higher in those that use insulin.

Being overweight or obese:
Having excess body fat is linked to an increase in risk of ovarian cancer.

Possible protective factors:

The following factors may reduce your risk of ovarian cancer:

  • Taking the combined contraceptive pill - Taking the combined contraceptive pill at some point in your life reduces your risk of cancer of the ovary. Research has shown that the longer you take the pill, the more your risk is thought to be reduced. The reduction in risk lasts for tens of years after you stop taking the pill.
  • Having children and breastfeeding - Having children seems to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer. The more children you have, the lower the risk. Breastfeeding also reduces the risk of ovarian cancer. This reduction in risk may be because while you are pregnant or breastfeeding you're not ovulating (releasing eggs). The fewer times you ovulate in your lifetime the lower the risk of ovarian cancer.
  • Having a hysterectomy or having your tubes tied - Having your tubes tied because you don't want any more pregnancies is called sterilisation. Studies have found that having your tubes tied reduces the risk of ovarian cancer. Until recently, most research has shown that having your womb removed (hysterectomy) may also reduce your risk of ovarian cancer. But this has become less clear in recent years and might depend on several factors including your age when you had the operation. Any reduction in risk may be greater for younger women. Researchers continue to study this area.

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, when people all over the world show their support for those affected. There are around 55,900 new breast cancer cases in the UK every year, with women over the age of 50 affected the most. It’s the most common cancer in the UK and accounts for 15% of all new cancer cases. Men can also get breast cancer, but it is much rarer.

John had been a self-employed electrician for 10 years and living in Scotland. His partner Kate had been undergoing treatment for breast cancer for the previous two years and was now in recovery. As part of her treatment regimen, Kate had gone through a gruelling course of chemotherapy, and this had negatively affected her energy levels. Due to the long-term side effects of her treatment, she often had days where she was entirely bed bound.

John and Kate had two young children, but Kate struggled to look after them during times when she was on her own and John was away from the house working. As a result, John felt compelled to make the decision to stop working. His reasoning was that not working would give him the ability to stay at home and support the family in whatever way they needed. Since John had stopped working, Universal Credit had become the family’s main source of income. However, it didn’t cover all their household outgoings. John reckoned he was 'a few hundred' behind on the rent payments and he was also struggling to pay back a loan. The family were struggling financially. The EIC stepped in to help John and his family with a financial contribution. This was to ensure they’d all be able to remain in their rented family home while Kate recovered and John wasn’t working.

The thinking today is that breast cancer is likely caused by a combination of genes, environment and lifestyle. While one in every seven women in the UK will go on to develop breast cancer at some point in their lifetime, the survival rate beyond ten years is now at 76%. As a society, we need to get this higher.
Currently, John is hoping he will be able to complete the 18th Edition wiring regulations and get back to work as a self-employed electrician. Self-employment would give him the flexibility his family needs and enable him to begin financially supporting his family once again.

The help John was able to access is due to the support of the EIC and the powerLottery. It means his family got the financial support they needed to get on top of their bills and remain in their rented home. Without powerLottery, the EIC would not be able to offer support to people like John and his family. That’s why we need you to become a powerLottery player to help EIC to continue supporting our industry members. powerLottery is the only lottery made for our industry by our industry. It gives players 40 chances to win cash prizes ranging from £50 to £1,000 every single month. A £10,000 draw bi-yearly gives you even more opportunity to win BIG. A new car, a holiday in the sun, a kitchen re-fit or a brand-new wardrobe… Think of all the different ways you could spend £10,000. To sign up to play the powerLottery today, click here:

breast cancer awareness

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Common symptoms of ovarian cancer include:

  • Feeling constantly bloated
  • A swollen tummy
  • Discomfort in your tummy or pelvic area
  • Feeling full quickly when eating
  • Needing to pee more often than usual
  • The symptoms are not always easy to recognise because they're similar to those of some more common conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

You may also have these other symptoms:

  • Tiredness that is unexplained
  • Weight loss that is unexplained
  • Changes in your bowel habit or symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, especially if this starts after the age of 50

You usually start by seeing your GP if you have symptoms. They will examine you and might refer you for tests or to see a specialist.
You have further tests if you have cancer. These tests are to find out its size and whether it has spread. This is called staging.
You should see your doctor if you notice a change that isn't normal for you or if you have any of the possible signs and symptoms of cancer.
Even if you're worried about what the symptom might be, don't delay seeing them. Your worry is unlikely to go away if you don't make an appointment. The symptom might not be due to cancer. But if it is, the earlier it's picked up the higher the chance of successful treatment. You won't be wasting your doctor's time.

Try not to be embarrassed. What you tell your GP is confidential. Doctors are used to discussing intimate problems and will try to put you at ease.

Getting the most out of your GP appointment:
When you see the doctor, it can be difficult to remember everything you want to say. These tips will help you get the most out of your appointment.


  • Write down your symptoms including when they started, when they happen and how often you have them.
  • Write down anything that makes them worse or better.
  • Tell your GP if you are worried about cancer.
  • Tell them if you have any family history of cancer.
  • Take a friend or relative along for support - they could also ask questions and take notes to help you remember what the GP says.
  • Ask the GP to explain anything you don’t understand.
  • Ask the GP to write things down for you if you think it might help.

What happens during your GP appointment:
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and how long you’ve had them for. They will also ask you about your general health.

Depending on your symptoms your doctor might:

  • Be able to reassure you
  • Arrange for a blood test to check for CA125
  • Want to examine you internally to see if your womb and ovaries feel normal
  • Refer you to the hospital either for tests or to see a specialist

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Internal examination:
You can ask for a female doctor to do the internal examination if you prefer. Your doctor will ask you to lie on your back on the couch with your feet drawn up and your knees apart. They will then put one or two gloved fingers into your vagina at the same time as pressing down on your tummy (abdomen) with their other hand. They may be able to feel if there are any swellings or lumps in your ovaries or womb. Your doctor may then put a speculum into the vagina to see if your cervix looks normal. This examination shouldn't take more than 5 minutes at most. Ask your GP to explain if they don’t think you need a referral or any tests. They might ask you to come back in a week or two if your symptoms continue. Go back if they change or get worse.

Questions you might want to ask your GP:

  • Do I need to see a specialist? Is it urgent?
  • When will I see them?
  • Where will I see them?
  • Will I find out about my appointments by post or telephone?
  • Do I need tests? What will they involve?
  • How long should I expect to wait?
  • Where can I find out more about tests?
  • Do I have to do anything in preparation for this test?
  • When will I get the results and who will tell me?
  • Your GP might not be able to answer all of your questions. They will tell you what they can at this point. Not knowing is difficult to cope with and can make you anxious.

Speaking to a friend or relative about how you feel might help.

  • If they don't think you need any tests or a referral
  • Can you explain why I don’t need to have tests or see a specialist?
  • Is there anything I can do to help myself?
  • Do I need to see you again?
  • Who do I contact if my symptoms continue or get worse, especially during the night or at weekends?

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Epithelial ovarian cancer is the most common type of ovarian cancer. Primary peritoneal cancer and fallopian tube cancer are similar to epithelial ovarian cancer and are treated in the same way. Rare types of ovarian cancer include germ cell tumours (teratomas and dysgerminomas), stromal tumours (granulosa tumours) and sarcomas.

Epithelial ovarian cancer
Epithelial ovarian cancer is the most common type of ovarian cancer. There are different types of epithelial ovarian cancer.
Primary peritoneal cancer and fallopian tube cancer are similar to epithelial ovarian cancer and are treated in the same way.

Germ cell ovarian tumours
Germ cell ovarian tumours begin in the ovarian cells that develop into eggs (germ cells). They are rare and usually affect girls and young women up to their early 30s. Non cancerous (benign) teratomas are the most common type.
You have surgery to remove the tumour. You might have chemotherapy if your tumour is cancerous. Treatment usually works well and most women are cured.

Sex cord stromal tumours
There are different types of ovarian sex cord stromal tumours (SCSTs). These can be non cancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant). Granulosa cell tumours are the most common type. Treatment depends on several factors including your age, the type of tumour, and how advanced it is (the stage). Most women are diagnosed at an early stage and treatment usually works well.

Borderline ovarian tumours
Borderline ovarian tumours are abnormal cells that form in the tissue covering the ovary. They are not cancer and are usually cured with surgery.

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The treatment for ovarian cancer depends on how far it has spread, your general health and whether you're still able to have children. Most people have a combination of surgery and chemotherapy. The aim of treatment is to cure the cancer, if possible. If the cancer is too advanced to be cured, treatment aims to relieve symptoms and control the cancer for as long as possible. You'll be cared for by a team of healthcare professionals who will create a treatment plan and support you throughout your treatment.

Surgery is the main treatment for ovarian cancer. The aim is to remove all of the cancer, or as much of it as possible.

Surgery usually involves removing:

  • Both ovaries and the fallopian tubes
  • The womb (a hysterectomy)
  • A layer of fatty tissue in the tummy (the omentum)
  • If the cancer is just in 1 or both ovaries, you may only need to have the ovary or ovaries removed, leaving your womb intact. This means you may still be able to have children.

Surgery is done under general anaesthetic (where you're asleep). You'll probably need to stay in hospital for a few days, but it may take many weeks to fully recover.

Chemotherapy is where medicine is used to kill cancer cells. Most women with ovarian cancer have chemotherapy in addition to surgery.

It may be used:

  • After surgery, to kill any remaining cancer cells
  • Before surgery, to shrink the cancer and make it easier to remove
  • If ovarian cancer comes back after initial treatment

Chemotherapy medicine is usually given by a drip into a vein, but is sometimes given as tablets. You'll need to go into hospital to receive the treatment, but you can usually go home the same day. Treatment is given in cycles, with a period of treatment followed by a period of rest to allow your body to recover. Most people have 6 cycles of chemotherapy, with each cycle lasting 3 weeks.

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Chemotherapy can cause some unpleasant side effects, such as:

  • Tiredness
  • Feeling and being sick
  • Loss of appetite
  • Hair loss
  • Diarrhoea
  • Increased risk of infections

Most side effects can be controlled with medicine from your doctor, and they should pass once treatment stops.

Radiotherapy uses carefully directed beams of radiation to kill cancer cells.

It's not used very often to treat ovarian cancer, but may be used:

  • After surgery for early ovarian cancer, to kill any cancer cells left behind
  • To shrink tumours and reduce symptoms if ovarian cancer has spread and cannot be cured

Common side effects of radiotherapy include sore skin, tiredness and hair loss in the treated area. These should pass after treatment stops.

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Targeted therapies
Targeted therapies are medicines that change the way cells work and help to stop cancer from growing and spreading. Not all types of ovarian cancer can be treated with targeted therapies.

There are 2 targeted therapies for ovarian cancer:

  • Olaparib (Lynparza)
  • Niraparib (Zejula)

These medicines are only suitable for some types of ovarian cancer and may be given if cancer comes back after a course of chemotherapy.

They are taken as a tablet or capsule. The side effects of targeted therapies include:

  • Breathlessness
  • Feeling sick
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhoea
  • Tiredness

Clinical trials
Research into newer and better treatments for ovarian cancer is ongoing through clinical trials. Speak to your care team if you're interested in participating in a trial as part of your treatment. They can let you know about any research you may be able to get involved in. It's important to be aware that you might not get an experimental treatment (you may be given a standard treatment that's being compared to the new one) and there's no guarantee that a new treatment will be more effective.

Preparing for treatment and life afterwards (prehabilitation):

When you’re first diagnosed with cancer, you might feel worried and overwhelmed. But there are things you can do to help you feel more in control of your physical and mental health during this time. Research says that focussing on certain lifestyle changes in whatever time you have before treatment starts can help you cope better with its side effects and improve your long term health. In the hospital, preparing for treatment is also called prehabilitation or prehab.

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One of the keys to a better version of you, mentally and physically, is sleeping well. We want all of our industry members to sleep as well as they can that’s why EIC have partnered with Sleepstation. Sleepstation is a clinically validated sleep improvement programme that can help you learn how to control and optimise your sleep to get the best sleep possible. Designed by experts and backed by science, the online service is proven to combat even the most severe insomnia. Their team will help you identify the underlying causes of your sleep problem and provide the personal support and guidance needed to improve your sleep. Sleepstation delivers remote care with a personal touch and that's what makes it so effective. Therapeutic support through Sleepstation is available to those in need and meeting our charity eligibility criteria.

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