We are not certain how all cases of melanoma develop; however, it is clear that excessive sun exposure, especially severe blistering sunburns during childhood can promote melanoma. There is also evidence that ultraviolet radiation used in indoor tanning equipment may also cause melanoma. Anyone can get melanoma, but fair skinned sun sensitive people are at greater risk. Melanoma does run in families. It is also more common in people with more than 50 moles on their body (the average is 30), and those with moles that are unusual and irregular looking. If you have some of these risk factors, periodic routine skin examinations by your dermatologist can truly be life saving.