Serous cystadenomas are a type of cystic neoplasm of the pancreas. These lesions are more frequent in those greater than age 70 and are more common in women. They are commonly quite large at the time of diagnosis measuring on average 5-8cm. Even though they are large they almost never cause jaundice and uncommonly will block the pancreatic duct. Thus, they are usually asymptomatic and are most usually found on diagnostic imaging performed for other reasons.
Mucinous cystadenoma is a type of cystic neoplasm. This type of tumor is usually benign when small but can grow and degenerate into a frank cancer. Most patients with these tumors are in their 5th and 6th decade and it is more common in women. Most of these tumors occur in the body and tail of the pancreas. As with serous cystadenomas they can usually be definitely diagnosed with modern diagnostic testing.
Cystic neoplasms of the pancreas represent about 10% of all cysts of the pancreas and ~1% of all pancreatic neoplasms. Much has been learned about the natural history and management of these tumors in the past decade. We are finding more of these lesions than in years past since so many patients receive ultrasounds or CT scans for other reasons and these tumors are found incidentally.