Denial is such a strong defense mechanism.
A new patient came into the dental office where I work the other day. Protocol for first visits and regular check-ups is a head and neck cancer screening on every patient. This gentlemen was 44, married, and your normal hard-working middle class guy. When my dentist was performing the cancer screening (which includes looking and feeling around the head and neck for anything abnormal) he saw some obvious pre-cancerous cells on the inside of his lower lip. This is when the patient reported using smokeless tobacco for many years (I think around 20). After the dentist went over all the patient's options and recommended having the area biopsied to determine if the cells were actually pre-cancerous or cancerous the patient replied:
"We're just not going to go there. To be honest with you, I'm not quitting (using tobacco) and if it is cancer, I don't want to know."
Have you seen what could happen if cancer in your mouth results in surgery?
And he's so young.