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.
Most pancreatic cysts aren’t cancerous, and many don’t cause symptoms. They’re found during imaging testing for another problem. Some are actually noncancerous 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.
WHAT IS THE PANCREAS?
Your pancreas is a 6-inch gland located below your liver, between your stomach and your spine.
The pancreas is made up of 3 parts:
1.”Head” that is tucked into the duodenum;
2. Flattened, longer “body;”
3.”Tail” that is connected to the spleen.
Your pancreas makes potent digestive enzymes and hormones that help manage blood glucose. Normally, these enzymes and hormones do not become active until they exit the pancreas and enter other parts of the body.
Pancreatic cysts and pseudocysts are growths in the pancreas.
THERE ARE TWO MAJOR TYPES OF PANCREATIC CYSTS –
1. True cysts (non-inflammatory cysts).
2. Pseudocysts (inflammatory cysts)
Inflammatory cysts are benign, whereas non-inflammatory cysts can be benign, precancerous, or cancerous.
1.TRUE CYSTS –
Serous cyst adenomas: – These cysts are mostly benign and commonly occur in middle-aged women. They usually are located in the body or tail of the pancreas. They is small and causes no symptoms although rarely they may cause abdominal pain.
Mucinous cyst adenomas:- 30 % of these cysts contain cancer, and those that do not contain cancer are considered precancerous. They also commonly occur in middle-aged women and are usually located in the body or tail of the pancreas.
Solid pseudopapillary tumor of the pancreas: These are rare tumors that have both solid and cystic components. It is found mainly in young Asian and black women. They may reach a large size and can become malignant.
Prognosis is excellent after complete surgical resection of these tumors.
Intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm (IPMN): – These cysts have a high likelihood of being or becoming cancerous. At the time of diagnosis, there is a 40% to 50% chance of the cyst already being cancerous.
These cysts are more common in middle-aged men and are more commonly located in the head of the pancreas. These cysts can cause abdominal pain, jaundice, and pancreatitis. Increased risk for cancer occurs with older age of the patient, presence of symptoms, involvement of the main.
2.PANCREATIC PSEUDOCYST –
A pancreatic pseudocyst is a type of cyst that it is not contained inside an enclosed sac of its own with an epithelium lining. Instead, the pseudocyst forms within a cavity or space inside the pancreas and is surrounded by fibrous tissue. Pancreatic pseudocysts do contain inflammatory pancreatic fluid or semisolid matter.
CAUSES OF PANCREATIC CYST –
The cause of most pancreatic cysts is unknown. Some cysts are associated with rare illnesses including von Hippel-Lindau disease, a genetic disorder that can affect the pancreas and other organs.
Pseudocysts often follow a bout of a painful condition in which digestive enzymes become prematurely active and irritate the pancreas (pancreatitis). Pseudocysts can also result from injury to the abdomen, such as from a car accident.
SYMPTOMS OF PANCREATIC CYST –
You may not have symptoms from pancreatic cysts, which are often found when imaging tests of the abdomen are done for another reason.
When signs or symptoms of pancreatic cysts do occur, they typically include:
1. Abdominal pain, Persistent abdominal pain, which may radiate to your back.
4. Poor appetite
5. Weight loss
8. Detectable, tender mass in the abdomen
9. Jaundice – yellowing of the skin and eyes.
10. Ascites – fluid build-up in the abdominal cavity.
11. A mass you can feel in your upper abdomen
WHEN TO SEE A DOCTOR –
Rarely, cysts can become infected. See a doctor if you have a fever and persistent abdominal pain.
A ruptured pseudocyst can be a medical emergency, but fortunately is rare. Fluid released by the pseudocyst can damage nearby blood vessels and cause massive bleeding. A ruptured pseudocyst can also cause infection of the abdominal cavity (peritonitis). Seek emergency medical treatment if you have signs or symptoms of internal bleeding and shock, including:
Severe abdominal pain
Weak and rapid heartbeat
Vomiting of blood
The best way to avoid pseudocysts is
1. To avoid pancreatitis, which is usually caused by gallstones or heavy alcohol use.
2. If gallstones are triggering pancreatitis, you may need to have your gallbladder removed.
3. If your pancreatitis is due to alcohol use, abstaining from alcohol can reduce the potential for acquiring this condition.
Treatment options for pancreatic cysts vary depending upon their type and whether or not they are pre-cancerous or cancerous and on whether or not they are causing symptoms. Treatments may include:
Surveillance- All pancreatic cysts warrant monitoring with CT scans, or depending upon their stability, endoscopic ultrasound.
Pseudocysts are benign cysts and may be left alone as long as they aren’t adversely affecting the patient. A serous cystadenoma rarely becomes cancerous and can be left alone unless it causes symptoms or grows.
Draining the Cyst – A benign cyst (pseudocyst or serous cystadenoma) causing bothersome symptoms or increasing in size may be drained using an endoscopic procedure with fine needle aspiration (EUSFNA).
Surgery may be needed to remove some benign cysts: an enlarged pseudocyst or a serous cystadenoma that’s causing pain or other symptoms. Other types of pancreatic cysts generally require surgical removal because of the risk of cancer and to enable them to be fully evaluated to determine if cancer cells are present.
The main challenge in diagnosis is to determine whether the cyst might become cancerous. These procedures are often used to help with diagnosis and treatment planning:
Medical history- Previous abdominal injury or pancreatitis might indicate a pseudocyst.
CT scan – This imaging test can provide detailed information about the size and structure of a pancreatic cyst.
MRI scan – This imaging test can highlight subtle details of a pancreatic cyst, including whether it has any components that suggest a higher risk of cancer.
Endoscopic ultrasound – This test, like MRI, can provide a detailed image of the cyst. Also, fluid can be collected from the cyst for analysis in a laboratory for possible signs of cancer. –
DIET FOR PANCREATITIS –
The chronic pancreatitis diet should include certain beneficial foods.
1.Yogurt:- The live bacteria which are present in yogurt help to regulate the balance in the digestive system. They also help in strengthening the immune system and thus protect the body from inflammation.
2.Spinach:- Spinach is loaded with antioxidants which help to boost immunity.
3.Vegetable Soup:- Vegetables are full of antioxidants and thus good for the pancreas. Soups are also beneficial in keeping the body hydrated.
4.Tofu:- Pancreatitis may occur when there are large amount of fat in the bloodstream. Therefore meat must be eliminated from the diet. You can substitute meat with tofu as it is a healthy protein source.
5.Other foods such as bread, rice, oatmeal and soya may also be added to the pancreatitis diet.
6.Herbs such as ginger root, ginseng and Indian gooseberry are also important additions to the diet as they help in managing the symptoms of pancreatitis.
Always consult a doctor before taking any herbs or supplements.
7. The daily total intake of fat should not exceed 40g. It is advisable to consume smaller portions of food frequently during the day.
8. Avoid caffeine, butter, eggs, beans, tobacco and spicy foods. These foods are known to result in gas formation and can irritate the pancreas.
9. Avoid sugary foods such as cookies or candies can lead to sugar accumulation in the body. The body needs to process this sugar rapidly and this can result in a sugar imbalance which causes diabetes. This fluctuation of blood sugar levels may lead to damage to the pancreas.
HOMOEOPATHIC REMEDIES OF PANCREATIC CYST –
1.Iris versicolor –
This remedy has a positive effect upon the pancreas, and Dr. Farrington gives the following symptoms as indicative of the remedy: Burning distress in the region go the pancreas, with vomiting of a sweetish water; the saliva has a greasy taste; there is a watery diarrhea which contains undigested fat, worse in the morning ; sick headaches may accompany.
This remedy will prove valuable in tuberculous patients, where there are evidences of fatty degeneration of the various organs, especially of the heart, liver or kidneys. The stools are undigested, containing particles, of fat the face is pale, yellow, and the patient anaemic. It is useful, in atrophy of the pancreas with diabetes. Oily looking stool with particles in the looking like frog spawn or sago, is characteristic.
Belladonna is the most efficacious remedy in acute haemorrhagic pancreatitis.
This remedy causes in its action upon the salivary gland an increased secretion of watery saliva. It also has violent copious vomiting of a watery or sour substance, has a diarrhea of copious soft, watery, foamy stools, which contain fat, and there is a violent pain in the epigastrium and back.
There is great emaciation: the patient is hungry, eats enormously and yet grows thin; there is a soapy taste in the mouth and general enlargement of the glands.