The report by The Economist Intelligence Unit, with support from the American Cancer Society, estimates there will be 12.9 million new cancer cases globally this year.
The number is forecast to rise to 16.8 million in 2020 and 27 million in 2030.
"Cancers have already progressed to where they are incurable in 80 percent of patients in developing countries," according to the study, which was commissioned by the Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF).
The report projected a treatment expenditure gap of approximately 217 billion dollars this year and called for action by countries worldwide and new investments in cancer control, even in the face of the current economic downtown.
"These new data delineate a stark trajectory for cancer if immediate action is not taken," said Doctor Ala Alwan, the assistant director-general for noncommunicable diseases and mental health with the World Health Organisation.
"The rise of cancer creates an enormous burden on health systems around the world. But this is not just a health challenge; it undermines economic growth and acts as a chronic poverty trap for the poorest countries.
"We need to take a close look at addressing that gap."
Doug Ulman, the LAF president and chief executive officer, said the report was a call for collaborative action "to address the treatment expenditure gap and change the trajectory of this tidal wave of cancer.
"We have a choice -- invest now or pay later with significant government spending and loss of lives and productivity," Ulman said.
The three-day LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Summit is being attended by some 500 delegates from more than 65 countries.
US cycling star Lance Armstrong, 37, a seven-time Tour de France winner and survivor of testicular cancer, set up the LAF in 1997 to campaign on cancer issues.