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  • Cystic, Mucinous & Serous Neoplasms

    “Neoplasm” literally means “new growth”. These neoplasms are a group of tumors containing cyst-like formations or that produce mucin or serum. They are also sometimes referred to as cystadenomas.

    A mucinous cystic neoplasm produces excessive amounts of mucin, a thick, sticky substance, is usually found in the pancreas, develops in women in their 40’s or 50’s, and may be either malignant or benign.

    Cystic, Mucinous & Serous Neoplasms Signs & Symptoms

    As mucinous neoplasms get larger, they may push on the internal organs and create a sense of fullness that may lead to weight loss. Some of these larger neoplasms may be detected during a routine physical exam, as a doctor will be able to feel it.

    Other symptoms, particularly for the serous cystic neoplasms, can include abdominal pain, nausea, or vomiting; in some cases jaundice (a yellowing of the eyes or skin) or weight loss can occur.

    Although usually benign, if left untreated these neoplasms may develop into cancer.

    Cystic, Mucinous & Serous Neoplasms Diagnosis & Treatment

    These growths can be detected through an ultrasound, which will take pictures of the body’s internal organs to be viewed later. Other scans like CT (computerized tomography) or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) may also be used. The tests will show any abnormalities within the internal organs.

    A fine needle aspiration biopsy, in which a long, thin, hollow needle is inserted directly into the mass to collect a tissue sample for examination under a microscope, will offer a definitive diagnosis of the type and stage of the mass.

    The most effective treatment of these neoplasms is surgical removal. The entire mass should be removed in order to ensure a recurrence, or return, of the mass will not occur. Surgery can include the removal of the head of the pancreas (pancreaticoduodenectomy), removal of the body and tail of the pancreas (distal pancreatectomy) or the entire organ (total pancreatectomy). Minimally invasive procedures, such as a laparoscopy, may be recommended for some patients.

    Cystic, Mucinous & Serous Neoplasms Outlook

    These cysts are usually highly treatable if removed early enough. It is recommended that they be removed surgically, as they can become malignant if left untreated. Once they are removed, the chance of recurrence is fairly low.