Spots that show up on the pancreas in imaging tests are sometimes pancreatic cysts. These sacs of fluid form anywhere in the pancreas. Whereas some are benign and small, producing no symptoms, others get large enough to cause symptoms, and still others are precancerous or cancerous, notes MedicineNet.com.
Several different kinds of cysts form in the pancreas. Some have actual cystic linings that send fluid into the growth. Others, known as pseudocysts, don't have special lining cells, but they often contain digestive juices because of their connection to the pancreatic ducts. Mucinous cysts are filled with mucus that comes from the cysts' lining. In general, these cysts range from several millimeters to several centimeters in diameter, according to MedicineNet.com.
When pancreatic cysts are large enough to cause symptoms, the patient may experience back and abdominal pain as the cysts push on nerves in the tissues that surround them. When cysts form in the head of the pancreas, they often cause jaundice as a result of bile duct obstruction. Infected cysts often cause sepsis, which produces chills and fever. Vomiting is a more rare symptom, happening when the pseudocysts block the progression of food through the intestines. Malignant cysts may produce unrelenting pain similar to that of pancreatic cancer, reports MedicineNet.com.