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Pancreas - Definition


The pancreas is a gland measuring around 15 cm in length that is part of the digestive system. It is located in the upper section of the abdomen, and is directly linked to the duodenum, the initial part of the small intestine. The pancreas is located between the small intestine and the spleen, behind the stomach. It is composed of a head, body, and tail, and produces pancreatic juice, which is transferred to the duodenum to aid in digestion of fat and sugars. The pancreas also produces and secretes different hormones into the blood, particularly insulin, which acts in reducing blood sugar levels. In cases where the pancreatic production of insulin is not correctly functioning, a form of diabetes mellitus can arise.