Premalignant Pancreas Issues | MedStar Health

Pancreas abnormalities may be noted on imaging performed for other reasons or when vague symptoms arise, raising concerns about potentially precancerous lesions. Similarly, families that have multiple members with pancreas and its related cancers ought to be screened early for cancers that are not easily detected. These challenges are the reason we work closely with experts in multiple disciplines across MedStar Health to carefully evaluate all pancreas lesions and determine the best approach to diagnosis and treatment.

Pancreatic cystic disease (IPMN, MCN)

Cysts of the pancreas are very common. There are many types of cysts, some benign, some premalignant, and some that have the chance of having an early, invasive pancreas cancer. At our Pancreatic Cyst Surveillance Clinic, we collaborate with gastroenterologists and radiologists to diagnose the specific cyst type and to assess its underlying risk. Do you need an operation, or will close surveillance suffice? How often should surveillance be done and by what means? We work with you to make a shared decision in selecting the right treatment option for you. 

High genetic risk patients and families (e.g. MEN, VHL, BRCA)

You may have an elevated risk of pancreas cancer based on family history alone, even in the absence of positive genetic testing. At MedStar Health, a team of specialists from disciplines including gastroenterology, pancreas surgery, radiology, and cancer genetics works together to look for any early changes in the pancreas that could suggest cancer development. We may also invite your family members to be seen for follow-up if screening for pancreas cancer makes sense. Learn more about our High-risk Screening Clinic for Pancreatic Cancer.