Monitoring a Pancreatic Cyst?

Posted by mikewdby @mikewdby, Aug 31, 2023

Hello,…I have to ask for people’s experience and support.

I am 68 years old. In June of 2022, during a routine examination (for a hernia) my GP a CT Scan picked up a 4cm Cyst on my Pancreas. Subsequently I had an MRI in the Twin Cities the next day. Being my GP is Mayo trained, and we live the summer months in the Twin Cities, they were able to get in me at Mayo within 2 week.

July, 2022 Mayo conducted a contrast MRI AND an EUS. The MRI confirmed the 4cm cyst. They did NOT take a sample biopsy of the Cyst as they said it was too risky (close to a vein). However they said it had no suspicious signs (whatever that means). My CA-19 score was ‘16’. They said I should follow up with them in 3 months for another contract MRI. I did so at Mayo in October - no signs of growth and my CA-19 was ‘15’. A followup was suggested for late January.

Since we spend our winter months in Ft. Myers, FL, The follow up with the fun at the Jacksonville Mayo clinic in late January 2023. No growth and CA-19 was ‘16’. A followup then was Suggested when we got back to Minnesota. In late July, we had a follow up contrast MRI at the Rochester Mayo - no growth, same CA-19 score. At the time I was told, that if it showed no growth in everything, stay the same, we could go with an annual follow up.

However, a few days later after I thought, I had a year of “breathing room” to relax, The doctor Team assigned to me recommended that I do another six months follow up due to the size of being 4 cm.

So now I am confused. Has anyone else had cyst monitored of this size and the time periods I am experiencing?

I am slightly obese (5’9 250#) and a surgeon (Dr. Smoot) once had a video session with me saying I would be in the ‘high risk’ category plus my pancreas was ‘spongy’ and prone to leakage and thus complications. Of course, my initial reaction was “let’s take it out of there while it’s not cancerous. Dr. Smoot did say that in the next 3-4 years there will be other treatments / methods (without mentioning what those options are) for my type of cyst.

So I will need to go back for a few days “vacation” in Jacksonville in late January - again.

I don’t know if I can mentally take this roller coaster ride every six months. I have faith in God and yet I am someone embarrassed that I am not trusting in His Will. His Will has gotten me this far…I feel unworthy asking for more good results.

Would like to here from Others who have had pancreatic cyst that were monitored for a period of time, how long that time was,and what was decided. Thank you and God Bless.

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Pancreatic Cancer Support Group.

Many of the large NCI designated comprehensive cancer centers of excellence with a pancreas or hepatobiliary program have cyst management clinics. The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network ( maintains a list of the Cyst Management Clinics in the USA. I go to MSKCC for cyst surveillance and have an MRI every six months.

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