How to Crochet Cancer Caps

Updated February 21, 2017

Crocheted cancer or chemo caps are protective and warming head coverings for cancer patients. It is important to follow certain guidelines when making a cap for a patient who has been undergoing chemotherapy or is recovering from brain surgery. All cancer caps should be made in the round, a continuous set of stitches to create a solid hat with no seam lines. Seams rub tender skin and can cause abrasions or rashes. Caps also should be made without open patterns or mesh stitches that expose bare areas of skin.

Choose yarn that is appropriate for a baby garment. Use the softest fibre possible. Caps are worn over incisions, failing hair follicles, healing stitches and on very tender skin that is easily irritated.

Chain three stitches and join with a slip stitch for a ring.

Crochet six single crochet stitches in the small ring. Join with a slip stitch.

Single crochet in the first single crochet. Place the pin or stitch marker in the stitch to mark the beginning of the round. Single crochet one more crochet in that first stitch. Crochet two single crochets in each of the remaining single crochets. You will have 12 stitches. It is important to count your stitches.

Single crochet in the first single crochet. Place the marker in this first stitch. Make two single crochets in the next single crochet, then follow the pattern: one single crochet then two single crochets all around. You should have 18 stitches. Remove the marker and be sure to place it at each first stitch from now on.

Make the next row: one single crochet in the next two single crochets, two single crochet in one single crochet around for a total of 24 stitches.

Continue crocheting: single crochet two in the next single crochet, single crochet one in the next three single crochets around for 30 stitches.

Make one single crochet in the next four single crochet stitches, two single crochets in one single crochet around for 36 stitches.

Make two single crochets in the next single crochet, one single crochet in the next five single crochets for 42 stitches.

Single crochet in the next six single crochets, two single crochet in the next single crochet around for 48 stitches.

Crochet one single crochet in each of the 48 single crochets around the cap for six to 10 more rows. Place the stitch marker in the first stitch of each row to keep track. Use your judgment to decide when the cap is large enough.

Finish the cap by slip stitching in each stitch around. For an alternate finish, edge the cap with: single crochet, chain one, single crochet in a single crochet; skip two single crochets and repeat around. Slip stitch to join.


Wash and dry the cap before giving it to the recipient or donor program. This will remove any dust or dirt the yarn may have picked up at the store and soften the yarn further. You can find many patterns for crochet chemotherapy caps.


Do not use wool fibre in a cancer or chemo cap. It can be abrasive and the person who is to wear it may have an allergy to wool. Do not use scented detergents or softeners on a cap due to health and allergy issues of the patient. Scent can cause nausea in some patients.

Things You'll Need

  • Crochet hook H or I
  • Baby soft yarn
  • Small safety pin or stitch marker
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About the Author

Suzie Faloon is a freelance writer who has written online content for various websites. As a professional crafter and floral designer, Faloon owned a florist business for nearly 25 years. She completed the Institute of Children's Literature course in 1988.