It is hoped that the non-invasive optical characterization of physiological features of normal and diseased epithelia can be assessed through the fluorescent emission of such tissues. With a high percentage of cancers arising in the epithelium, the characterization of carcinogenesis in such tissues is imperative. Fluorescent emission from the epithelium, e.g. oral mucosa, has been shown to be sensitive to physiological features, such as cellular morphology, and the amount and types of biochemical agents present in the tissue. Efforts to distinguish the spectral signatures of diseased and healthy states of tissues from fluorescence have been confounded by the distortion of the intrinsic fluorescent signature as a result of wavelength dependent absorption and scattering within the tissue. Theoretical models of light propagation in biological media are required for understanding the distortion of the intrinsic fluorescence arising from compromised tissues. In this work we model the distortion of the intrinsic fluorescence emitted from a tissue with wavelength dependent optical properties, arising from varying blood and water content, using the radiative transport equation. As an example, we demonstrate the ability of blood and water content to distort the signal of a white light source as it is embedded deeper into a tissue.