Mouth cancer frightens most people more than any other cancer, according to new research, however more than 20 million of us would not change our lifestyles at all even if we knew somebody who had contracted the disease.
According to research conducted by OnePoll on behalf of the British Dental Health Foundation (BDHF), 31 per cent of people would not change their lifestyle.
This includes not cutting down on the four causes of mouth cancer, which are tobacco use, drinking alcohol to excess, poor diet and the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is often transmitted through oral sex.
However, further research revealed that mouth cancer is a very scary prospect for the majority of people, with 61.3 per cent saying that they are scared of dying of cancer in general and 50.3 saying that they found mouth cancer scarier than any other type.
The BDHF believes that this is probably due to how much people use their mouths, and how closely tied they are to physical attractiveness, which cancer could have a large impact on.
The research suggests that the reason so many people do not think about changing their lifestyles when confronted with mouth cancer is that 75 per cent of people do not believe they are at risk of the disease.
This is despite the fact that, in the UK, one person on average dies due to mouth cancer every four hours. It is one of the few cancers that is on the rise, with cases of mouth cancer having increased by 50 per cent since the year 2000.
This lack of awareness of the risks of mouth cancer is the reason for the dental marketing campaign Mouth Cancer Awareness Month, which aims to teach more people about the risks of the disease.
Dr Nigel Carter OBE, chief executive of the BDHF, said: “The number of people who wouldn’t change their ways despite knowing the lifestyle could result in developing mouth cancer is flabbergasting. Mouth cancer affects the way you speak, the foods you can eat, the way you look and your quality of life.”