IPMN Intraductal Papillary Mucinous Neoplasm
The pancreas is an abdominal organ that produces pancreatic juices for digestion and insulin, a hormone to regulate sugars in the body. The digestive juices pass through a duct and empty into the intestine. Intraductal tumours or intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms (IPMN) are cancerous growths in the pancreatic duct – the main duct or a branch of the main duct. These tumours produce a thick fluid and can be malignant (spread to the rest of the body) if left untreated. The most common symptoms associated with IPMN intraductal tumours include:
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of weight
- Acute pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
When you visit your doctor with the above symptoms, your doctor may perform imaging tests such as a CT scan, endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) and magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) to diagnose the condition. Sometimes, your doctor may order a pancreatic biopsy (sample of the duct tissue is aspirated with a fine needle and examined in the laboratory for cancer cells) to confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment for IPMN depends on whether the main duct or the branch ducts are involved. Treatment may include surgical removal of the tumour so as to avoid its spreading to other parts of the body or radiographic monitoring of the tumour to asses for growth. Your doctor will discuss your options based on your particular presentation.