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We present numerical modeling techniques and results geared towards improving our understanding of the physical basis underlying partial wave spectroscopy. This work is in support of an ongoing effort in developing and advancing ultra early-stage cancer detection techniques. First, our initial finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) modeling methodology and results for synthesizing partial wave spectroscopy are presented for an inhomogeneous dielectric sphere. Next, we compare these modeling results with those of a one-dimensional layered slab model for testing whether photons interact primarily one-dimensionally with three-dimensional objects in creating partial wave spectroscopy. We then present a working hypothesis and our preliminary work for improving the correlation between the FDTD-generated results and the 1-D layered slab model by implementing a focused beam instead of a plane wave excitation.