Calls to lower the age at which women in England go for cervical cancer screening following the death of Big Brother star Jade Goody have been rejected, the government said.

In light of Ms Goody’s death from the disease in March, campaigners had wanted the age to be lowered from 25 to 20.

But a review carried out by the independent advisory committee on cervical screening decided there should be no change in the screening age because evidence showed earlier screenings could do “more harm than good”, causing too many false positives and increasing the risk of premature births among some women.

In England, women will continue to be invited for screening from the age of 25, while in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland women currently attend screening from 20.

A total of 56 women under the age of 25 were diagnosed with cervical cancer in England during 2006.

Health minister Ann Keen said she fully supported the conclusion reached by the committee, adding: “They have concluded that the screening age should not be lowered but have recommended that we do more work around the treatment of symptomatic patients.”

Ms Keen said new guidance would be given to doctors on managing young women with symptoms and announced an audit of all future cases of the disease in under 25s.