Hepatitis is the term used for a liver that is inflamed. Inflammation is the local reaction of the body to a variety of damaging agents. The inflammation is the consequence of the damaging effect to for example liver cells that may be killed and the response of the body that may react more or less outspoken. A powerful reaction may be very helpful to kill a damaging virus. A too strong reaction may cause such severe damage that the outcome could be lethal. A too weak reaction may lead to failure of the body to eradicate the virus and therefore the infection become chronic with variable damage.
A number of agents can cause hepatitis, including infectious diseases, chemical poisons, drugs and alcohol. Hepatitis C is one of the viral causes of liver damage: It may leads to serious scar formation (fibrosis, if more sever cirrhosis) and cause death due to liver failure or the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cell cancer). The latter needs to be differentiated from malignancies that spread to the liver (metastasis) from elsewhere (colon cancer, pancreatic cancer and many others).