SAM DOCHERTY will step aside from captaincy duties at Carlton this season, as the respected defender continues his recovery from a testicular cancer diagnosis.

The Blues announced the decision on Wednesday, giving the 28-year-old the ability to "focus solely on himself" this season.

Docherty has shared co-captaincy duties with Patrick Cripps for the last three seasons, but began chemotherapy in August last year after being diagnosed with testicular cancer for a second time.

He had previously undergone surgery to remove a malignant testicular tumour in 2020.

Sam Docherty and Patrick Cripps lead Carlton out against Essendon in R7, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

The news sparked an outpouring of support among the Carlton playing group and the wider football community, which raised more than $200,000 for their ‘Doing It For Doc' fundraiser last year.

Every single member of the Blues playing group shaved their head in support of the campaign, with the proceeds donated to the Peter MacCallum Cancer Foundation.

Docherty has since returned to pre-season training, though he will not continue in his role as co-captain for the upcoming 2022 campaign.

Carlton's Jack Silvagni shaves his own head in support of teammate Sam Docherty. Picture: Carlton FC

"Sam is an exceptional individual and has been a tremendous leader for this football club," Carlton football boss Brad Lloyd said.

"His pre-season preparation has been strong to date and he’s progressing well.

DO IT FOR DOC Blues reveal stunning fundraising effort in support of Sam Docherty

"Right now, our priority remains on ensuring we continue to provide support to Sam throughout this period, to allow him every opportunity to focus on himself, and enable the time required to get his body right."

Carlton is due to finalise its leadership group for the upcoming season in the coming weeks.