Skin cancer is an important health problem worldwide among cancer types and results in death at a minimum level in the case of early diagnosis. Therefore, the application of prevention programs is vital. Nurses by definition take responsibility for programs in prevention, early diagnosis, and screening for cancer. This study was conducted to determine the extent of skin cancer knowledge and protective behaviors among nursing students in the West Black Sea Region of Turkey. This cross-sectional, descriptive study was conducted between February and May 2015. The study sample consisted of 965 nursing students. Data were collected by means of a questionnaire form. Nursing students had a moderate level of knowledge, with average scores of 24.35 +/- 3.66. The knowledge levels of first-year students were lowest compared with other years. It was determined that, among nursing students, the percentage of "negative behaviors" in response to skin cancer protective behaviors was higher than for "positive behaviors." The results of this study highlight the knowledge level and skin cancer protective behaviors of nursing students. Training, seminars, and workshops that teach about risk factors, early detection, protective behaviors, and skin self-examination skills could increase the knowledge level of nursing students.