An awareness of how your body funtions will have developed throughout your life. Symptoms that are unusal or do not go away are important to note and may be a sign of something more serious.
Checking your symptoms
It is a good idea to keep a record of how long you have symptoms and how severe they are. If a mild illness doesn’t seem to be getting better over an extended period of time it may be worth going to see your doctor.
Keeping an eye on your body is very important. Regular self-examination may help catch a cancerous growth early and so allow treatment before it spreads too far. Cancer in the biggest non-accidental killer in young adults and so it is important to keep an eye out for. The types of cancer that young people get and therefore the symptoms they experience are often different to those in older adults. Cancer in young people is still very rare but it is becoming more common. Pain, a lump or a swelling, extreme fatigue or tiredness and significant unexplained weight loss may all occur with cancer but will most likely be something completely different. So if you notice anything strange don’t delay going to see your doctor about it; it's likely to be nothing but it's not worth taking the risk over.
Teenage Cancer Trust is a charity devoted to improving the lives of teenagers and young adults with cancer. They offer specialist care to teenagers in an environment tailored to their needs. Find out more on their website or by visiting their Facebook page.
Looking after others
Keep an eye on your friends to help them stay healthy. Sometimes people need a little encouragement to see somebody about a problem, so if you notice anything that you think requires medical attention, try and encourage them into it. It is often friends who notice people’s addiction to alcohol and drugs. If you are worried speak to someone about it to find the best course of action.
Some illnesses require immediate action from those around them, for example strokes. People in your age group are affected by strokes and so it is worth familiarising yourself with the symptoms. Act F.A.S.T. (face, arms, speech, time) and in doing so you could save a life. The Stroke Association can give more information.