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How do you treat a cyst on the pancreas?

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Quick Answer

Pancreatic cysts may be treated with careful observation, draining and surgery depending on the type of cysts on the organ, according to the Mayo Clinic. Objects called benign pseudocysts and serous cystadenomas usually do not become cancerous, and these cysts can be left alone unless they cause symptoms. Any cysts smaller than 0.39 inch, or 1 centimeter, can be viewed with a CT scan after one year.

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Full Answer

MedicineNet.com reveals that treatment options vary based on circumstances regarding pancreatic cysts. A doctor may closely monitor a cyst that remains on the organ six weeks after acute pancreatitis to see if the cyst grows. Large cysts following pancreatitis may obstruct the stomach, cause abdominal pain or become infected. Larger cysts, usually more than 1 centimeter in diameter, may be drained using a small needle or examined with an endoscopic ultrasound. Cysts more than 0.78 inch, or 2 centimeters, in younger patients with no other health problems may be surgically removed. Older patients with cysts more than 2 centimeters may have the object drained.

Upon draining a cyst, doctors study the DNA and fluid cytology of the cyst to determine if the cyst is precancerous, cancerous or benign. MedicineNet.com explains that the results of these tests may determine whether or not surgery is required.

The National Pancreas Foundation indicates two main types of cysts form on the pancreas. Serous cysts contain thin fluid, whereas mucinous cysts contain thicker, more viscous liquid. Most serous cysts are benign and certain mucinous cysts may become cancerous.

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