Pancreatic cysts are saclike pockets of fluid on or in your pancreas, a large organ behind the stomach that produces hormones and enzymes that help digest food.
The pancreas is an organ approximately six inches long that is located in the abdomen behind the stomach and in front of the spine and aorta. The pancreas is divided into three regions: the head, the body, and the tail. The head of the pancreas is located on the right side of the abdomen adjacent to the duodenum. The tail is on the left side of the abdomen, and the body lies between the head and the tail.
There are two functional parts to the pancreas, referred to as the exocrine and endocrine parts. The majority of the cells of the pancreas produce digestive juices which contain the enzymes necessary for digesting food in the intestine.
Most pancreatic cysts aren't cancerous, and many don't cause symptoms. They're typically found during imaging testing for another problem. Some are actually noncancerous (benign) pockets of fluids lined with scar or inflammatory tissue, not the type of cells found in true cysts (pseudocysts).
But some pancreatic cysts can be or can become cancerous. Your doctor might take a sample of the pancreatic cyst fluid to determine if cancer cells are present. Or your doctor might recommend monitoring a cyst over time for changes that indicate cancer.