How Prevalent are Pancreatic Cysts?

As more patients have undergone imaging examinations for various disorders, physicians have detected pancreatic cysts with increasing frequency. Some cysts become malignant yet many remain asymptomatic. However, the prevalence of pancreatic cysts among healthy individuals has not been established—it is important to determine how common these are, to devise strategies to manage them once they are found.

Koen De Jong et al. performed a methodical assessment of occurrence of cysts among 2804 asymptomatic individuals who chose to have a MRI at their own cost, without referral from a doctor. They discovered pancreatic cysts in 66 of the individuals; prevalence increased with age but did not differ between sexes. Only a few cysts were larger than 2 cm, but none showed features of malignancy. This was one of the first studies to use such a sensitive imaging technique to quantify cysts in the general population and one of the most thorough—original image sets of all positive results were reassessed by an independent, blinded radiologist.

A 65-year-old woman with a small (3-mm) cyst in the tail of the pancreas. Copyright 2010 AGA Institute

The authors conclude that pancreatic cysts are common in the general population , so gastroenterologists will need to develop careful approaches to decide which cysts to remove, ignore, or follow, based on information about patients’ age and medical conditions.

More Information on Pancreatic Cysts:

What do you think? Use the “Leave a Comment” link below to post your thoughts.

Read the article online:
De Jong K, Yung Nio C, Hermans JJ, et al. High prevalence of pancreatic cysts detected by screening magnetic resonance imaging examinations. Clin Gastroenterol and Hepatol 2010;8:806–811.

About Kristine Novak, PhD, Science Editor

Dr. Kristine Novak is the science editor for Gastroenterology and Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, both published by the American Gastroenterological Association. She has worked as an editor at biomedical research journals and as a science writer for more than 12 years, covering advances in gastroenterology, hepatology, cancer, immunology, biotechnology, molecular genetics, and clinical trials. She has a PhD in cell biology and an interest in all areas of medical research.
This entry was posted in Cancer, Pancreas and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to How Prevalent are Pancreatic Cysts?

  1. Mary Gocek says:

    Six monthe ago I had a kidney removed because of cancer, everything turned out find I just had a six month cat scan lung, abdoman, and pelvic, again o.k. they saw the tail pancreatic cyst with the first and again no change with thesecond..Iwent on to get an e
    EUS endoscopy and this is what they think asimple cyst, pseudocyst or a mucinous neoplasm. So becase of the cytology and pathology report the Docs want to see me for another test, in 6 months or a year. Why could I not get a better diagnosis. Thank you Mary Gocek

  2. jotiravaz says:

    Good afternoon!!!!!
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  3. bersihwajah says:

    still confuse about Pancreatic Cysts, i learn more at mayoclinic, thanks

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