Benign pancreatic tumors are tumors that are found in the pancreas and do not metastasize or spread to distant sites in the body, according to the Center for Pancreatic and Biliary Diseases. However, these benign tumors are uncommon, and some can turn malignant.
Some benign tumors of the pancreas are known as cystic tumors, according to the Center for Pancreatic and Biliary Diseases. They are called that because they are filled with fluid. Two groups are mucinous cystadenomas and serous cystadenomas. Another type of cystic tumor, mucinous ductal ectasia, is malignant but slow growing and can even be treated without surgery.
The most common of these cystic tumors are the mucinous cystadenomas, claims the Center for Pancreatic and Biliary Diseases. They are found overwhelmingly in females and have a very high probability of turning malignant. The best treatment for them is surgical removal, and some need to be removed by the very invasive Whipple operation.
Serous cystadenomas rarely turn malignant, so the treatment for them is often watchful waiting unless the tumor is causing the patient some difficulty, states the Center for Pancreatic and Biliary Diseases. They have a characteristic honeycombed look.
Another type of benign pancreatic tumor is called a pseudocyst, according to Cleveland Clinic. It occurs mostly in people with a history of pancreatitis, which is inflammation of the pancreas.