A new study suggests men may need to start getting Pap tests as early as age 40 to have a positive test.
The researchers analysed the test results of 7,717 men and 6,818 women aged 20 to 80 who completed the Pap test.
They found the average age at which a Pap test came back in women was 21.2 years, while men had a mean age of 22.6 years.
The researchers said: The results showed that older age is associated with lower rate of positive results, whereas younger age is the most likely reason for low positive rates.
But the researchers also found that men and boys were more likely to have positive results than girls and women.
This means older men should get tested as early in life as possible.
Dr Paul Jager, of the University of Cambridge, said:”This is a huge change from the previous era, when Pap tests were often administered at a very young age.”
Nowadays, many men and some women are taking Pap tests at an age where they should be, but there is still a huge gap in age between the Pap test and a result.
“Pap tests are still important to detect early the presence of cervical cancer, but more screening is needed in older men and young women, so that they are screened at the same time as their cervical cancer screening tests.”
Dr Jager said there were many factors at play in age when Pap test results could be missed.
“For instance, we know that the risk of cervical disease is highest in the first 15 years of life, so it is important to take Pap tests early to identify any other conditions that might make the test more sensitive,” he said.
More: What you need to know about Pap test What cervical cancer is and how it is treated