The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) also said that almost 21.4 million new cases of the disease will be diagnosed annually in 2030.
Launching a new database on global incidence of cancer in 2008, the latest year for which figures are available, the IARC said the burden of cancer was shifting from wealthier to poorer nations.
Cancer is neither rare anywhere in the world, nor confined to high-resource countries, it said in a statement.
In total, 7.6 million people died of cancer in 2008 and there were an estimated 12.7 new cases diagnosed.
Around 56 percent of new cancer cases worldwide in 2008 were in developing countries and these regions also accounted for 63 percent of all cancer deaths, the data showed.
IARC director Christopher Wild said the data represented the most accurate available assessment of the global burden of cancer and would help international health policy makers develop their responses.
The most commonly diagnosed cancers worldwide in 2008 were lung cancer, with 1.61 million cases, breast cancer, with 1.38 million, and colorectal cancers, with 1.23 million. The most common causes of cancer death were lung (1.38 million), stomach (0.74 million) and liver cancers (0.69 million)
The projection for annual death rates of 13.2 million and annual diagnosis of 21.4 million were based on assumptions that underlying rates of cancer would remain the same over the next two decades, the IARC said.