Optical extinction and diffuse reflection spectra of cancerous and normal prostate tissues in the 750 to 860 nm spectral range were measured. Optical extinction measurements using thin <i>ex vivo</i> prostate tissue samples were used to determine the scattering coefficient (μ<sub>s</sub>), while diffuse reflection measurements using thick prostate tissue samples were used to extract the absorption coefficient (μ<sub>a</sub>) and the reduced scattering coefficient (μ's ). The anisotropy factor (<i>g</i>) was obtained using the extracted values of μ<sub>s</sub> and μ's. The values of fractal dimension (<i>D</i><sub>f</sub>) of cancerous and normal prostate tissues were obtained by fitting to the wavelength dependence of μ's. The number of scattering particles contributing to μ<sub>s</sub> as a function of particle size and the cutoff diameter <i>D</i><sub>max</sub> as a function of <i>g</i> were investigated using the fractal soft tissue model and Mie theory. Results show that <i>D</i><sub>max</sub> of the normal tissue is larger than that of the cancerous tissue. The cutoff diameter <i>D</i><sub>max</sub> is observed to agree with the nuclear size for the normal tissues and the nucleolar size for the cancerous tissues. Transmission spectral polarization imaging measurements were performed that could distinguish the cancerous prostate tissue samples from the normal tissue samples based on the differences between their absorption and scattering parameters.
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