The pancreas has two main functions — the exocrine function, which helps in digestion, and the endocrine function, which helps regulate blood sugar. Diseases of the pancreas, the most common of which are acute pancreatitis, chronic pancreatitis, inherited pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer, affect more than 330,000 people in the U.S. each year. Tobacco and obesity are the two major risk factors for pancreatic disease. However, heavy intake of alcohol is also a risk factor. The GI field is approaching the crossroads of converting the understanding of how pancreatic diseases work into new treatments for patients with these diseases.