Abdominal investigations are a standard part of an annual health check-up and can reveal abnormalities in the organs of the abdomen. Imaging tests are used to identify masses of the pancreas and are often part of the annual health check-up program. During routine check-ups, imaging tests can accidentally identify a pancreatic group. Although it can be a cause for concern and anxiety, pancreatic masses are treatable and can often be removed successfully without surgery.
Pancreatic cancer, also known as ductal adenocarcinoma, is the deadliest type of GI malignancy, with a 5-year survival rate of less than 5%. Its aggressive behavior is a significant health concern, and its prevalence seems to be increasing. Approximately 30,000 new cases were diagnosed in the U.S. in 2002, and nearly 32,000 in 2004. Unfortunately, most patients present with advanced cancer.
CT of pancreatic masses is a commonly used tool in diagnosing various types of tumors, including benign and malignant. Therefore, abdominal and general radiologists need to have a basic understanding of pancreatic neoplasms. In this article, we will review the characteristic features of pancreatic neoplasms and discuss common mimics. We also discuss the treatment options for pancreatic masses.
A typical MR image of a pancreatic mass will show a hypodense, predominantly cystic lesion. The lesion is variable in its attenuation and may be infected or hemorrhagic. A contrast-enhanced CT may show an irregular cystic lesion and capsular enhancement. A CT may also reveal a secondary pseudoaneurysm.
The pathology of pancreatic masses is of increasing interest in the gastroenterological and radiological communities. Pancreatic imaging allows for accurate diagnosis, and imaging of the pancreas has a critical role in this diagnosis. For this reason, an atlas encompassing the imaging of pancreatic neoplasms is necessary. In addition, this atlas can assist radiologists in diagnosing pancreatic masses.
Treatment options for pancreatic cancer include surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography) is a procedure in which a small hollow tube is inserted into the pancreatic or bile ducts. A dye is injected into these ducts, and images are taken. Radiation therapy, which helps slow tumor growth and provides pain relief, is also an option.