Carolina Thermascan - Our History

Carolina Thermascan was founded in 2003 by Lewis Stocks, M.D., Ph.D., a noted breast surgeon in Raleigh, NC, following his years of frustration from performing mastectomies on women whose cancer had been missed by traditional radiographic mammography.  Dr. Stocks was familiar with thermography, having been a doctoral student at Duke University in the 1970’s when research comparing these screening studies concluded that thermography was not as reliable as mammography.  This was done, however, at a time when infrared camera and computer software technology were very primitive with subsequent studies refuting these findings.  Dr. Stocks thought this might provide a better option and in the 1990’s purchased his first camera and began training to understand how to interpret the findings.  Almost immediately he began recognizing the patterns that pointed toward greater risks for the development of breast disease and was able to help his patients be more proactive, able to undergo less invasive procedures at an earlier point before their conditions reached a more serious stage. 


In 2004, Dr. Stocks upgraded to the highest resolution camera being made at the time, purchased from FLIR Systems, Inc., the world leader in the manufacture of thermal measurement and diagnostic systems.  He also underwent intensive training in thermography interpretation with Dr. Phillip Hoekstra in Detroit, the president of the American Academy of Thermology (AAT).  The business was sold to Dr. John Pittman in 2007 with Dr. Stocks continuing to provide interpretations until 2012 when Dr. Pittman joined AAT and underwent training and certification with Dr. Robert Schwartz, the current president of the organization.   It was that year that AAT released its groundbreaking Breast Thermography Guidelines which represented a consensus opinion among dozens of highly trained physicians who have used breast thermography for decades.  These guidelines were revised in 2013 and again in 2015 with Dr. Pittman serving on the Breast Guidelines committee that carried out these revisions. 


Until 2015, the focus of Carolina Thermascan has been solely on breast health although many other uses have been explored over the years with AAT recognizing the need to establish clear guidelines for these other applications.  Long used by physical medicine specialists, thermography can be very helpful in assessing a variety of neuro-muscular conditions as well as inflammatory and chronic pain syndromes.  Thermographic imaging of the head and neck can reveal useful information in assessing dental health as well as sinus problems, TMJ, and thyroid disease.  In 2015, AAT released new guidelines for thermographic evaluation of other body parts, recognizing the value this information can provide in assessing a wide range of conditions including infectious, neurologic, musculoskeletal, inflammatory, and degenerative illnesses. 


Also in 2015, Carolina Thermascan upgraded to the latest state-of-the-art thermal imaging camera and software to stay in compliance with revised guidelines that require systems with even higher resolution.  Also manufactured by FLIR Systems, Inc., the new A655sc high-resolution, science-grade infrared camera provides the highest resolution available at 640x480 pixels.  Software developed by Med-Hot, Inc. allows for consistent and uniform interpretations, carrying out computations that previously had to be done manually. 


The American Academy of Thermology (AAT)

This is the premiere organization in North America for the scientific development, health care training and clinical application of medical infrared imaging.  Founded in 1971, AAT is a multi-disciplinary organization that promotes education, research and the clinical application of medical infrared imaging. AAT provides a forum for those who have an interest in medically related conditions that involve the autonomic nervous, peripheral vascular and immuno-inflammatory systems. The American Academy of Thermology holds annual conferences for the presentation of scientific and professional papers. In cooperation with the international thermology community, the American Academy of Thermology prepares and publishes peer reviewed guidelines for the use of medical infrared imaging. The American Academy of Thermology serves as the voice of its members in medical practice, health care finance, legislative and regulatory related matters.

To see all of AAT’s guidelines, go to www.aathermology.org. 



John C. Pittman, M.D.

Medical Director and Certified Thermologist

Dr. Pittman has had a long-standing interest in women’s health and innovative strategies for cancer prevention and treatment.  He received his B.S. in biology in 1980 then completed classwork for a Master’s degree in biochemistry and microbiology at the University of Georgia in 1981.  He received his M.D. degree from Mercer University in Macon, Georgia in 1986 and attended the Pediatric Residency Program at NC Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, North Carolina with an emphasis in Preventive Medicine.  Later, while serving as Emergency Department Director at hospitals in Rocky Mount and Southport, NC, he began exploring ways to combine conventional medicine with nutrition, botanicals, and other natural therapies as an integral part of clinical medical practice.  Soon after Dr. Pittman founded the Carolina Center for Integrative Medicine in 1994, he became interested in thermography to assist with breast cancer screening in women who were considering bio-identical hormone replacement therapy.  It was then that he began working with Dr. Lewis Stocks, purchasing the business in 2007 with Dr. Stocks remaining on staff, continuing to read all scans until his retirement in July 2012. That year, Dr. Pittman joined the American Academy of Thermology undergoing certification training with a focus on newly established AAT breast guidelines.  In 2015, Dr. Pittman underwent re-certification training by AAT focusing on new guidelines for other applications of thermal imaging, expanding the services that Carolina Thermascan now provides. 


Sharon Reynolds, B.S.

Certified Thermographic Technician

Sharon joined the staff of Carolina Thermascan as our first thermographer in 2010, performing all procedures and preparing reports after interpretation by Dr. Pittman. Sharon received a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from East Carolina University, Greenville, NC (minoring in Composite Science).  In addition, she completed Harvard University’s Health Careers Program and the Medical Billers Program at Allied Schools, Laguna Hills, CA.  In 2013, Sharon completed the Thermography Technicians Training Course and was certified by the American Academy of Thermology.


Amanda Roberts

Thermagraphic Technician

Amanda was born in South Carolina and moved to Wilmington, NC with her family. She attended Cape Fear Community College where she obtained her Nursing Assistant certification and her Medical Technologist license in 2009. Amanda joined the staff of Carolina Thermascan in 2015 as our second Thermographer.