The pancreas is an elongated gland that is located behind the stomach. It is part of the endocrine system and the digestive system. Most importantly, it serves to produce digestive enzymes and secrete insulin and glucagon that help regulate blood levels of sugar. Sometimes, the pancreas can develop closed sacs of fluid called pancreatic cysts.
Most cysts are not cancerous or precancerous and do not produce any accompanying symptoms. If you have a pancreatic cyst that could be precancerous, your doctor may want to monitor the cyst over a period of time to evaluate any change in size or shape to determine whether it should be removed. A sample of the fluid from the cyst can also be taken to test for cancer cells.
A non-precancerous pancreatic cyst called a pseudocyst can develop as a complication of inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis). They can cause symptoms, such as chronic pain and nausea/vomiting, and serious complications, such as rupture, bleeding, and infection. At times they require immediate medical attention.