NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms

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The NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms features 7,863 terms related to cancer and medicine.

Browse the dictionary by selecting a letter of the alphabet or by entering a cancer-related word or phrase in the search box.

dilation and curettage
(dy-LAY-shun … kyoo-reh-TAZH)
A procedure to scrape and remove tissue from the inner lining of the uterus. The cervix is dilated (made larger) and a curette (spoon-shaped instrument) is inserted into the uterus to remove tissue. A tissue sample may then be checked under a microscope for signs of disease, such as infection or cancer. A dilation and curettage may also be done after a miscarriage or to treat certain conditions, such as abnormal bleeding. Also called D&C and dilatation and curettage.

EnlargeDilatation and curettage (D and C). Three-panel drawing showing a side view of the female reproductive anatomy during a D and C procedure. The first panel shows a speculum widening the opening of the vagina. The cervix, uterus with abnormal tissue, bladder, and rectum are also shown; an inset shows the lower half of a woman covered by a drape on an exam table with her legs apart  and her feet in stirrups. The middle panel shows the uterus and a dilator inserted through the vagina into the cervix. The third panel shows a curette scraping out abnormal tissue from the uterus; an inset shows a close up of the curette with the abnormal tissue in it.

Dilatation and curettage (D and C). A speculum is inserted into the vagina to widen it in order to look at the cervix (first panel). A dilator is used to widen the cervix (middle panel). A curette is put through the cervix into the uterus to scrape out abnormal tissue (last panel).