Primary pancreatic lymphoma is a rare neoplasm. We report the case of a 49-year-old man who presented with biliary obstruction due to a neoplasm involving the pancreatic head. Initial computed tomography revealed a suspicious periampullary mass. Consequently, magnetic resonance imaging was performed 16 days later, showing a relatively clearly defined and homogeneous signal mass in the pancreatic head with biliary dilatation on enhanced study. In combination with high tumour marker associated antigen CA19-9 levels (1872 and 2110 U/ml), these findings were highly suggestive of a pancreatic carcinoma. He underwent Whipple's procedure. Examination of the surgical specimen revealed a Burkitt's lymphoma. This case demonstrates that lymphoma can present with features mimicking pancreatic head carcinoma on imaging, clinical and laboratory studies. Neither clinical nor imaging nor laboratory methods indicate correct diagnosis, but a relatively clearly defined and homogeneous mass should prompt the physician to include lymphoma in a differential diagnosis of a pancreatic mass.