Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) for most patients is a terminal complication of chronic inflammatory and fibrotic liver disease. With regrettably few exceptions, treatment is largely palliative, and long-term survival is rare. However, the major causes of HCC worldwide are known and preventable. Hepatitis B and C exist only in man; the viruses have no known non-human reservoirs. Transmission of the viruses can be interrupted by vaccination against hepatitis B virus infection and improvements in medical techniques for hepatitis C, for which no vaccine has yet been developed.