Light scattering spectroscopy (LSS) is a promising optical technique developed for quantitative characterization of tissue morphology as well as in vivo detection and diagnosis of disease such as early cancer. LSS employs a wavelength dependent component of light scattered by epithelial cells and other tissues to obtain information about subcellular structure. We present two novel modalities of LSS, LSS imaging and scattering angle sensitive LSS (a/LSS). LSS imaging provides quantitative information about the epithelial cell nuclei, such as nuclear size, degree of pleomorphism, hyperchromasia, and amount of chromatin. It allows mapping these histological properties over wide areas of epithelial lining. We show that LSS imaging can be used to detect precancerous lesions in optically accessible organs. Using a/LSS, which enables characterization of tissue components with sizes smaller than the wavelength of light, we show that the number of subcellular components with the sizes between 30 nm and few microns scales with the size according to an inverse power-law. We show that the size distribution exponent is an important parameter characterizing tissue organization, for example the balance between stochasticity and order, and has a potential to be applicable for early cancer diagnosis and characterization.© (2002) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.