Near-infrared optical imaging is an emerging noninvasive technology toward breast cancer diagnosis. The optical imaging systems available to date are limited either by flexibility to image any given breast volume, patient comfort, or instrument portability. Here, a hand-held optical probe is designed and developed, 1. employing a unique measurement scheme of simultaneous multiple point illumination and collection for rapid data acquisition and minimal patient discomfort, and 2. employing a curved probe head such that it allows flexible imaging of tissue curvatures. Simulation studies are carried out on homogeneous slab phantoms (5x10x8 cc) to determine an appropriate source-detector configuration for the probe head. These design features are implemented in the development of the probe, which consisted of six simultaneous illuminating and 165 simultaneous collecting fibers, spaced 0.5 cm apart on a 5x10 sq-cm probe head. Simulation studies on 3-D slab and curved phantoms demonstrate an increase in the total area of predicted fluorescence amplitude and overall signal strength on using simultaneous multiple point sources over a single point source. The probe is designed and developed such that on coupling with a detection system in the future, the hand-held probe based imager can be clinically assessed toward cancer diagnostic imaging.