Preference ratings are used to quantify quality of life in analyses used for health care policy making. Subjects indicated how many years of their life expectancy they would trade to avoid BRCA mutations, breast/ovarian cancer, and five preventive measures including prophylactic surgery, annual mammograms, and annual magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Among 243 respondents, both the 83 women with mutations and the 160 controls rated mammography highest (most favorably), MRI next highest, having a child with a mutation lowest, and ovarian cancer next lowest. Controls rated prophylactic surgery higher than cancer (P < 0.01), but women with mutations did not. In logistic regression, controls were twice as willing as women with mutations to trade time except for screening modalities; younger, lower-income, and non-white women were more willing to trade time than older, higher-income, and white women. Our findings support the use of average-risk individuals' time trade-off preference ratings for health care policy development.