Pancreatic cysts are a common condition that usually do not produce any symptoms. Most of the cysts are noncancerous (benign), but they can sometimes be precancerous and can develop into cancer later.
The pancreatic cyst specialists at Miami Cancer Institute have access to a range of innovative technologies to diagnose and treat these cysts, with the goal of creating a personalized plan that effectively treats any side effects and monitors the cysts for advancing disease.
Pancreatic cysts are fluid-filled growths that form in the pancreas. The cysts can develop as a result of inflammation in the pancreas.
The pancreas is a gland in the abdomen located between the stomach and intestines. It is made up of two kinds of cells: exocrine cells and endocrine cells. Exocrine cells, which make up the majority of the pancreas, produce enzymes that help the body digest food. Endocrine cells make hormones – including insulin – that control blood sugar levels.
If your doctor suspects you have pancreatic cysts, he or she will test to see what type of cyst it is and may recommend a surveillance program to monitor them for growth.
The most common type of pancreatic cyst is an intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm (IPMN). These cysts form in the ducts between the pancreas and the intestine. They are also the most common precancerous pancreatic cyst.
Other types of pancreatic cysts include:
Most pancreatic cysts develop for no apparent reason, however, people with pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) are more likely to develop cysts. In some cases, trauma to the stomach area may cause pancreatic cysts.
If you have a family history of pancreatic, stomach, gallbladder or liver cancer, you may have a higher risk of the cysts turning into cancer.
Because doctors do not know the cause of pancreatic cysts, there is no guaranteed way to lower your risk for developing the cysts. However, since pancreatitis can increase risk of pancreatic cysts, lowering your risk for pancreatitis may lower your risk for pancreatic cysts. This can include: