There are two very important things to know about neoplasms of the pancreas. First, some, such as the “intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm,” are curable precancerous lesions. Just as colon cancer arises from curable precancerous colon polyps, so to do some pancreatic cancers arise from curable precancerous lesions.
A variety of different types of neoplasms (tumors) can arise in the pancreas, such as ductal adenocarcinoma and pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor, and these different tumor types are important to recognize because they are often treated differently, and because they are associated with different prognoses (predicted outcomes).
Trained expert pathologists usually establish the diagnosis of a specific type of neoplasm. They do this either from biopsies of the tumor or by examining resected (removed) tumors.