The pancreas is a long, flattened gland in the upper part of the abdomen between the stomach and the spine. It is about 6 inches long and its head connects to the duodenum through a small tube called the pancreatic duct.
Other organs such as the spleen, liver and small intestine surround the pancreas. Its functions involve the digestive process and the maintenance of blood sugar. The pancreas secretes enzymes, or digestive juices, into the small intestine to help further break down food after it leaves the stomach. The gland also releases insulin into the bloodstream to regulate blood sugar. Diseases of the pancreas include pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer and diabetes.