SYRACUSE N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — As we close out cervical cancer awareness month, those at Upstate Medical University want women to keep it at the forefront of their minds.

Especially because they say it’s one of the most preventable cancers.

Still, the American Cancer Society predicts more than 4,000 women will die from it this year.

The good news? Dr. Allison Roy says there are two major tools to help catch cancer or pre-cancerous cells early.

Annual exams are one tool.

The other is a vaccine for the human papillomavirus or HPV.

“90% or so of cervical cancers are related to the HPV virus.”

Dr. Allison Roy

It’s a sexually transmitted disease.

The CDC recommends girls get the vaccine between nine and 11 years old.

Dr. Roy says one study found an 80% decrease in rates of cervical cancer among women in their young 20s who got the HPV vaccine.

We actually have early detection, we have treatment, we have preventative measures for and that’s very rare with cancers, so there’s something we can actually do about it.

Dr. Allison Roy

If you did not get the HPV vaccine as a child, talk to your doctor.

Dr. Roy says it’s FDA-approved for ages nine to 45 and recommended for up to age 26. Between ages 27 to 45, she says it depends on whether you have significant risk factors for HPV exposure.

As always, your doctor knows your personal benefit the best.