What is the pancreas
The pancreas is a large gland behind your stomach, at the back of the tummy (abdomen)
The pancreas is often described as having a head, body and tail. It is surrounded by several important organs, such as the liver, and also by large blood vessels.
Diagram showing the pancreas and surrounding organs
Diagram showing the pancreas and surrounding blood vessels
Your pancreas does two main things.
- It makes enzymes. Enzymes help to break down food so your body can absorb it. This is part of digestion.
- It makes hormones, including insulin, which control sugar levels in the blood.
Published September 2020
To be reviewed September 2022