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Understanding Pancreatic Cysts

Understanding Pancreatic Cysts

Pancreatic cysts are pockets of fluid on or in the pancreas, an accessory organ of the digestive system that produces digestive enzymes and hormones. Most pancreatic cysts are not cancerous and usually do not produce symptoms. Some, however, may be precursors to pancreatic cancer.

Since pancreatic cancer frequently goes undetected, once pancreatic cysts are found (usually during an unrelated imaging exam such as a CT scan or MRI), your physician may need to take a sample of the fluid in the cyst to check for pre-cancerous or cancerous features.

VIDEO: Dr. Stephen Pereira, MD, talks about what you need to know about pancreatic cysts

Only a physician can determine if a pancreatic cyst is cancerous

Since pancreatic cysts usually do not have any symptoms and since pancreatic cancer can spread rapidly, determining whether or not cysts are pre-cancerous or cancerous is important especially if a person is experiencing the previously noted symptoms or risk factors.

Patients should see their physician for an accurate diagnosis and treatment.