Hepatitis B is an infection that is usually acquired during childhood from your mother or siblings. Occasionally it is picked up as an adult. Once contracted, damage to the liver follows. If your liver is damaged then your five year risk of liver cancer is 6 to 15%. Hepatitis B kills millions of people per year.
There is effective treatment and vaccination now available.
Hepatitis C is a chronic infection picked up from exposure to infected body fluids. If you have hepatitis C, there is a 30% chance that it will go on to cause liver damage. Once your liver is damaged there is 3% chance per year that you develop liver cancer. Hepatitis C is now the main reason for liver transplants in New Zealand. Progression of the disease can be prevented by treatment.
In 2016 the NZ government announced the funding of a new easy oral treatment which cures Hepatitis C. This means that treatment is now effective and affordable.