Pancreas Conditions

Pancreatic Cysts

Pancreatic cysts are capsules or sacs that develop within the surrounding pancreatic tissue and contain fluid or semi-solid material. Most pancreatic cysts are benign (not cancerous), and many do not cause symptoms. However, some cause symptoms such as abdominal pain and nausea. While very large pancreatic cysts may create a lump that can be felt in the upper abdomen, most are not detectable during a physical exam and may only be discovered incidentally during an unrelated imaging procedure.

If your doctor finds a cyst in your pancreas, he or she will likely use one or more techniques to help determine if it is benign or malignant (cancerous), including:

•    Computed tomography (CT)

•    Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

•    Endoscopic ultrasound

These procedures can also help determine what type of cyst you have, which plays an important role in the selection of treatment.

If a pancreatic cyst is benign and not causing symptoms, the doctor will most likely recommend monitoring it for changes in size and quality, as some benign pancreatic cysts can become cancerous. If a pancreatic cyst is cancerous or is causing unpleasant symptoms, the doctor will generally recommend that the cyst be drained or surgically removed.


IPMNs are cysts that occur within the pancreatic ducts. They are often cancerous or precancerous when discovered, especially when they involve the main pancreatic duct. Learn more >>

Mucinous Cystadenomas

Mucinous cystadenomas are also benign cystic tumors of the pancreas. However, they carry a higher risk of being or becoming malignant (cancerous). Learn more >>

Pancreatic Pseudocysts

As the name suggests, pseudocysts are not actually cysts. They are not sacs, but rather cavities inside the pancreas that are surrounded by fibrous tissue. Learn more >>

Serous Cystadenomas

Serous cystadenomas are multicystic, and are nearly always benign; therefore, they rarely require surgical removal. Learn more >>

Simple Pancreatic Cysts

Simple pancreatic cysts are benign and do not have the potential to become cancerous. They occur most often in children, and rarely occur in adults. Learn more >>

Solid and Pseudopapillary Neoplasms

Also known as papillary cystic tumors, these masses are usually more solid than cystic, generally occur in the body or tail of the pancreas, and are most often found in younger women of African-American decent. Learn more >>

Pancreas Treatments