I Was Diagnosed with Pancreatic Cysts… Now What?

What to do if you're diagnosed with Pancreatic Cysts

If you were recently diagnosed with pancreatic cysts, you're probably wondering what comes next. After all, the condition sounds rather alarming. People immediately think of diabetes when the pancreas comes to mind. Cysts bring about thoughts of cancerous tumors. It's only human to think the worst when serious health problems occur, but it's not beneficial. You can't always control what happens to your body, but jumping to conclusions never helps the situation. It's important to learn as much as possible about your condition. You'll have a better understanding of how pancreatic cysts are treated, and you'll learn how to avoid future problems.

Are All Pancreatic Cysts Cancerous?

Needless to say, cancer is one of the most feared medical conditions known to mankind. However, not all pancreatic cysts are cancerous. In fact, most are benign and clear up without causing major problems. Many go undetected until high resolution imaging is used to monitor or diagnose other medical conditions. Even very large cysts often go unnoticed. Many aren't treated or removed unless they cause symptoms or become precancerous or cancerous. In other words, don't cause yourself unnecessary stress. Treatment depends on the type of pancreatic cyst, the cause, and other determining factors.

Why Do I Have Cysts on the Panaceas?

It takes a review of your personal medical history and high resolution imaging such as a CT scan or MRI scan and fluid collection to determine the exact type of cyst(s) that you have. Many people are surprised to find out that 20 different types of cysts can form on or within the pancreas. That leads to one all-important question. Why me? The cause of pancreatic cysts is often unknown, but certain disorders, injuries, and lifestyle can be contributing factors. Considering the risk factors can help you and your physician figure out the most likely cause of your condition.

Possible causes may include:

  • Heavy alcohol consumption
  • Gallstones
  • Prior abdominal injury
  • Genetic disorders such as von Hipper-Lindau disease
  • Pancreatitis

Treating Your Condition

If pancreatic cysts aren't cancerous or precancerous, and if they aren't causing pain or other problems, simply watching and waiting might be the best course of action. Certain types very rarely become cancerous, and if they aren't causing symptoms they're best left alone. However, they should be monitored for changes. It's important to follow your doctor's advice.Your healthcare provider will make a determination regarding treatment after taking all of the factors into careful consideration.

The doctor may suggest draining the cyst if it's growing but deemed otherwise harmless. The surgeon will use a small needle to drain the cyst either through the abdomen or endoscopically. If it's growing, if it poses a cancer risk, or if it's a threat to other organs, it may be surgically removed.

How Can I Avoid Further Problems?

Whether the doctor wants to take a wait-and-see approach or whether the cyst(s) will be drained or removed, lifestyle changes may be in order. It's important to be honest with yourself and do all that you can to improve your prognosis. As previously mentioned, gallstones and pancreatitis can cause pancreatic cysts. Pancreatitis can be caused by heavy alcohol consumption. Obesity and a high-fat diet can contribute to gallstones. If lifestyle is a factor, make any necessary changes to improve your overall health. It only makes sense that avoiding further bouts of pancreatitis will help to prevent additional pancreatic cysts.