This article was last updated on August 19, 2016\nYou may not know it, but your pancreas has a big job to do.\nResting just behind the stomach, the pancreas cannot be seen or felt by touch. And, well, many people don’t really know what this organ does for the body.\nBut the pancreas plays a critical role in your overall health. Learn more about the pancreas’ functions, diseases, and treatment options.\nWhat Is the Pancreas?\nLocated deep in the abdomen, the pancreas is responsible for the production of several important hormones, including insulin, which controls the amount of sugar in your blood.\nBecause of its location behind your stomach, it can be difficult to diagnose pancreatic tumors or cancer, as they can’t be felt like tumors under the skin or in breast tissue. This also helps explain why pancreatic diseases are usually not diagnosed until symptoms start to appear.\nFunctions of the Pancreas\nThe six-inch organ aids in digestion by making secretions of pancreatic juice that contain digestive enzymes. These enzymes help food be absorbed more easily into the small intestine.\nCommon Pancreatic Diseases and Disorders\nPancreatic diseases can affect your whole body. Since the pancreas helps regulate your blood sugar, it is linked to\nDiabetes\n\nType 1 diabetes: This is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin, the hormone needed to allow sugar to enter cells to produce critical energy.\nType 2 diabetes: If you have type 2 diabetes, your body does not use insulin properly \u2014 a condition referred to as \u201cinsulin resistance.\u201d At first, the pancreas produces extra insulin to make up for it, but overtime, the organ simply cannot keep up to produce enough insulin to stabilize your blood sugar levels.\n\nThere are many other diseases and problems which may affect your pancreas in addition to diabetes, including:\n\nPancreatic cancer\nPancreatitis, or inflammation in your pancreas\nIslet cell tumors, which can be cancerous or benign (not malignant)\nEnlarged pancreas, where your pancreas is larger than it should be\nSymptoms of pancreatic disease can include:\nNausea\nVomiting\nTenderness when touching the abdomen\nAbdominal pain that radiates to your back\nUpper abdominal pain\n\nTreatments for the Pancreas\nPancreatic Transplantation\nMany people also don’t know that the pancreas can be a transplantable organ. By transplanting a healthy pancreas into your body, it can effectively cure diabetes by regulating your blood sugar levels, eliminating your need for insulin shots. These types of transplants are rarely done alone, as many people who need a pancreas transplant also benefit from a kidney transplant.\nUPMC Transplant services have more than 30 years of experience and has pioneered the field of transplantation. To learn more about pancreas transplants and other transplant information please visit the\u00a0UPMC Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Program\u00a0online.