Treating pancreatic cysts before they become cancerous
Advances in imaging technologies such as CT and MRI have dramatically increased the number of small cysts that are detected in the pancreas. Up to 2% of imaging studies identify a pancreatic cyst. Most are benign, and are unlikely to be harmful or cause symptoms. Some cysts, however, are precancerous, and have the potential to develop into pancreatic cancer.
Pancreatic cancer is the 4th most common cause of cancer death in the United States. In most patients pancreatic cancer is detected at a late stage, and treatment options are limited. The detection of pancreatic cysts offers an opportunity to identify some pancreatic cancers at an early stage. With precancerous lesions, the detection of cysts may offer an opportunity to prevent the disease in the first place.
International Consensus Guidelines were published in 2013 to help guide the treatment and management of pancreatic cystic lesions. At Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, we’ve developed a specialized team to help guide the management of this complex group of clinical entities.
In the general population, pancreatic cysts often go undetected. As a result, patients do not receive the frequent, close monitoring required. The Pancreatic Cyst Center has been established to ensure that patients are thoroughly, continuously monitored, so that we can treat cysts before they become cancerous.